Alia Atkinson Officially Calls Time on Distinguished Swimming Career

ATKINSON Alia LON London Roar (LON) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 9 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Alia Atkinson Officially Calls Time on Distinguished Swimming Career

Alia Atkinson has officially retired from swimming following the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships, ending one of the most illustrious breaststroke careers of her era.

Atkinson, 33, made the announcement on Instagram. The Texas A&M grad (and athletics hall of famer) is a pioneering swimmer for the Caribbean and for Black swimmers in North America. She is the first Afro-Jamaican swimmer to win a world title in the pool.

 

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“Not the meet I hoped for but I am happy to say I finished every ounce of swimming talent God gave me, the bottle empty,” Atkinson wrote. “Many times I wanted to quit or give up, but I saw it through to the end.”

Atkinson retires in possession of two world records, in the women’s 50 breast and 100 breast. The latter, part of a three-way share, dates to 2014. She set the 50 mark most recently in 2018.

Atkinson’s accomplishments include four short-course Worlds gold medals among 12 total Worlds medals, all individual.  At the long-course version, she earned silver in the 50 breast in Kazan in 2015 and bronze in the 100.

Atkinson made her Olympic debut at age 15 in Athens in 2004. The closest she came to the Olympic podium was in 2012 when she finished fourth in the 100 breast. She was eighth in the 100 in 2016 and 22nd in the 100 breast in Tokyo. She’d been sending messages not to subtly that Tokyo would be it for her.

Atkinson was also a founding member of the London Roar in the International Swimming League, competing in all three seasons.

“You’ve been a trailblazing athlete in and out of the pool, as well as a shining example of class and professionalism,”  her Roar teammate Annie Lazor wrote on Instagram. “It’s a privilege to be your teammate and friend.”

Wrote Atkinson:

Many many thanks to all that have supported me, cheered for me and followed me these past (decades 😄). It meant alot❤❤❤

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Kurt Wienants
9 months ago

What a great Champion and competitor. Privileged to have seen her swim in many S Florida meets over the years. Godspeed to her and hopefully we’ll get to see her swimming masters soon. Good luck Alia.