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.
Follow Maritza Correia McClendon on Instagram here.
Follow Gold Medal Mel Stewart on INSTAGRAM HERE.
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.
Great interview. Your Georgia Bulldog family is, and always has been, proud of you. Maritza a DGD!
Really enjoyed this great / emotional interview. Learned a good deal more of what Mariza dealt with and can’t image the emotions that she dealt with., Now to reach out to some former athletes and see how they dealt with things. Agree with the care that Mel has in his interviews. Keep up the great work & different stories that are more than just the swim side of things.
….thank you, T Hill.
Mel: Thank you once again! Keep these going. Awesome and humbling.
thank you, Daniel….
I had no idea she swam distance events too. What a beast!
I didn’t either. 50 to 1650 is extraordinary!
Great interview, thank you! What a rock star Correia is!
Mel, you take so much care in how you communicate. It’s a shame that the comments section on this site are approaching unreadable. I’d love to see a more cleaned up comments section, that demands more of your readers/ commenters, and keeps everyone on topic.
On balance, comments are fair, even constructive. Our LIVE RECAPS generate the best comments. A small percentage are awful, extremely painful to read (and certainly standout), but I do believe the conversation, good or bad, needs to be nonstop. No platform has allowed comments to be open… SOMETHING YOU CAN DO, which I do, is set an example. Use your real name when commenting. You can do it. It’s your choice. A lot of people complain to me on deck at meets about anonymous comments–then I see them commenting days later under a anonymous handle.
But can you really blame these people in this current doxxing culture?!
down-voting is so last decade, the option should not be there, it just invites trolls
I’m no mind reader, so I can’t tell if your comment is coincidental or a passive aggressive jab. I of course don’t run this site but I would think you’d be allowed to be critical of my comment and disagree with me directly…I am not offended, rather I see it to be socially healthy and refreshing! By all means, fire away!
Wow, I was unaware of Maritza’s accomplishment at SECs…all free events! One of the most impressive things I’ve heard for sure!
What a great story, thanks for sharing.
I would be intrested to hear a little more about the piece at the end of the interview regarding the added criticism of black athletes. In my opinion, the amount of criticism leveled at public figures (athleted, actors, politicians, etc) corresponds with that person’s level of stardom AND their level of participation in public life and discourse. Then again, I may be on a different page than what was being discussed here…
Nonetheless, I am grateful that Maritza and Mel shared their experiences and stories with us, especially Maritza for… Read more »