In this Gold Medal Minute takeover of the SwimSwam Podcast we have the first black woman to break an American and world record and make the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team.
Olympic star Maritza Correia (now McClendon) has layers. She’s more than just a 2004 Olympic medalist. Her roots run deep in the sport, and she owns metrics that will make the biggest swim nerd’s head spin. Who is the first swimmer, male or female, in SEC history to win all of the freestyle events, all free titles, at the SEC Championships? Yep, that’s right. Maritza.
Maritza has always been a trailblazer, and she has never stopped giving back to the sport. Yes, she’s the first black woman to break the big records and earn her spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, but she’s still in swimming, working to make the sport accessible to all children living on all social economic levels. Most often that starts with the gift of learning how to swim. Go to her website to learn more and do a deep dive.
When I think of Maritza, I do think of a champion, and a person on a mission to improve lives through the sport, but I also saw her for years and years at swimming events working in marketing for big swimwear brands. She was always there, always working, always the most professional person in the room. Maritza’s a grown woman and a mother, and she has a lot to share, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s murder May 25th of this year. If I ever had or have a question on the topic of being a black swimmer in our sport, Maritza tops the list of people I trust to give me the facts–no matter how hard they may be to hear.
In this podcast we cover Black Lives Matter, and swimming, but there is always more to ask and learn. If you have a question, please share it hear. We can always ask Maritza back to the podcast for another episode.
This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.