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Alia ATKINSON
Sport Swimming
NOC Jamaica   
GenderWomen
Born11 Dec 1988 in Saint Andrew, JAM
Height1.72 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Residence
United States
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Psychology - Texas A&M University: College Station, TX, USA
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age three.
Why this sport?
"About 75% of Jamaicans did not know how to swim [when I was young], so my parents wanted to be the ones to personally break that stereotype and just to make sure their children learned how to swim. So we all learned how to swim. I was the only one that kept on going afterwards. And it just turned into something to do after school."
Club / Team
South Florida Aquatics: United States
Name of coach
Chris Anderson [club], from 2001; Gillian Millwood [national]
General Interest
Nicknames
AliAtki (Facebook profile, 05 Jan 2021)
Hobbies
Writing short stories for children. (aliaatkinson.com, 24 Apr 2017)
Most influential person in career
Her late brother Adi and coach Chris Anderson. (fina.org, 20 Nov 2018; buzzzmagazine.com, 01 Jan 2015)
Hero / Idol
Dutch swimmer Enith Brigitha. (jessicacreighton.co.uk, 25 Jul 2016)
Injuries
In November 2017 she dislocated her left shoulder while competing at a World Cup event in Beijing, People's Republic of China. She was racing the individual medley at the time of the injury and it reportedly occurred when she was transitioning from backstroke to breaststroke. (jamaicaobserver.com, 19 Nov 2017)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
Out of the pool she wears a necklace that reminds her of her brother Adi, who died in a plane crash in 2009. (fina.org, 30 Oct 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Swimming is not only a sport, but a life necessity." (jamaicaobserver.com, 29 Nov 2017)
Awards and honours
She was named 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Female Central American and Caribbean Swimmer of the Year in Swimswam.com's Swammy Awards. (swimswam.com, 15 Dec 2020; 17 Dec 2014, 26 Dec 2016, 22 Dec 2019)

She was inducted into the Texas A&M Lettermen's Association's Hall of Fame Class of 2019. (theeagle.com, 23 Jul 2019)

In 2014, 2017 and 2018 she was named Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year by the RJR National Sports Foundation. (swimswam.com, 22 Jan 2019; rjrnewsonline.com, 19 Feb 2018; jamaicaobserver.com, 29 Nov 2017)

In October 2018 she received the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander for outstanding representation of Jamaica in the field of swimming. (swimswam.com, 16 Oct 2018)

She was Jamaica's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. (gc2018.com, 04 Apr 2018)

She was Jamaica's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (jamaicans.com, 08 Aug 2016)

She has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States of America. (jamaicans.com, 08 Aug 2016)
Milestones
In 2010 she became the first female Jamaican swimmer to compete in a final at the world championships, finishing in sixth place in the 50m breaststroke at that year's World Short Course Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She also became the first Jamaican swimmer to win a medal at the world championships when she took silver in the 50m breaststroke at the 2012 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2014 she became the first Jamaican swimmer to win a gold medal at the world short course championships when she triumphed in the 100m breaststroke at the 2014 edition in Doha, Qatar. (SportsDeskOnline, 11 Dec 2018; bbc.co.uk, 07 Dec 2014; jamaica-gleaner.com, 14 Dec 2012, 19 Oct 2011; jis.gov.jm, 31 Jul 2011)
Famous relatives
Her father Tweedsmuir Atkinson competed in athletics [discus and javelin] at national school level in Jamaica. Her uncle Karl Smith competed in 400m hurdles at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. (jamaicaobserver.com, 24 Jan 2015)
Ambitions
To become the first Jamaican swimmer to win an Olympic medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (12thman.com, 20 Nov 2018; jamaica-gleaner.com, 14 Aug 2019)
Other information
EARLY DAYS
She began focusing on breaststroke at age 13. "I actually was a butterflyer and a freestyler but when I was 13, the breaststroke just clicked and I thought, 'Oh, I understand this stroke now.' And that was it. The most challenging part is that if one thing is off, it throws everything off. If your kick is off, then your head position is off, your arms are going too much, and now you look like a chicken popping up in the water. I can fake a freestyle and a 'fly - just attack the water and keep the tempo. But when you fake the breaststroke, you're actually doing more strokes and you're not getting anywhere. You have to be patient with it. You have to have the flow." (fina.org, 20 Nov 2018)

FROM JAMAICA TO FLORIDA
Her family moved from Jamaica to Florida, United States of America, when she was age 12. She swam for Fort Lauderdale Swim team and Comet Swim team in Pembroke Pines where she first met coach Chris Anderson. She also swam for Flanagan High School in Florida which resulted in the award of a full swimming scholarship from the Texas A&M University. "It was a new experience and a new environment. I missed my friends [in Jamaica], especially those from school. However, I was also excited at the prospect of new opportunities." (fina.org, 20 Nov 2018; buzzzmagazine.com, 01 Jan 2015)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She has run the Watabound initiative since 2017, a platform to promote swimming in developing countries. She also conducts swim clinics in Jamaica. (rjrnewsonline.com, 03 Jul 2019; Watabound Instagram profile, 25 Jun 2019; stluciastar.com, 04 May 2019; Jamaica Gleaner, 11 Aug 2018; LinkedIn profile, 2018)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
22 2021 Tokyo, JPN 100m Breaststroke 1:07.70
8 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 100m Breaststroke 1:08.10
4 2012 London, ENG 100m Breaststroke 1:06.93 
27 2012 London, ENG 200m Breaststroke 2:28.77
Heats 2012 London, ENG 50m Freestyle 25.98
Heats 2008 Beijing, CHN 200m Breaststroke 2:29.53
Heats 2004 Athens, GRE 100m Breaststroke 1:12.53
44 2004 Athens, GRE 50m Freestyle 27.21 
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Semifinal 2019 Gwangju, KOR 100m Breaststroke 1:07.11
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 50m Butterfly 27.49
4 2019 Gwangju, KOR 50m Breaststroke 30.34
Heats 2015 Kazan, RUS 50m Butterfly 27.01
2 2015 Kazan, RUS 50m Breaststroke 30.11
3 2015 Kazan, RUS 100m Breaststroke 1:06.42
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 200m Breaststroke 2:31.49
Semifinal 2013 Barcelona, ESP 100m Breaststroke 1:07.63
Semifinal 2013 Barcelona, ESP 50m Breaststroke 31.27
24 2005 Montreal, CAN 50m Breaststroke 33.26 
Heat 2005 Montreal, CAN 200m Individual Medley 2:26.08
31 2005 Montreal, CAN 400m Individual Medley 5:09.72 
36 2005 Montreal, CAN 200m Breaststroke 2:44.17 
Heat 2005 Montreal, CAN 100m Breaststroke 1:13.21
46 2005 Montreal, CAN 50m Butterfly 29.80 
46 2005 Montreal, CAN 100m Freestyle 59.61 
Heat 2005 Montreal, CAN 200m Freestyle 2:08.62
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2018 Hangzhou, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.05
1 2018 Hangzhou, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:03.51
3 2018 Hangzhou, CHN 100m Individual Medley 58.11
1 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 100m Breaststroke 1:03.03
2 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 50m Breaststroke 29.11
3 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 100m Individual Medley 58.04 
20 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 200m Breaststroke 2:26.21 
Heats 2014 Doha, QAT 200m Breaststroke 2:20.08
4 2014 Doha, QAT 100m Individual Medley 58.58
1 2014 Doha, QAT 100m Breaststroke 1:02.36
2 2014 Doha, QAT 50m Breaststroke 28.91
8 2012 Istanbul, TUR 200m Breaststroke 2:21.64
2 2012 Istanbul, TUR 100m Breaststroke 1:03.80
4 2012 Istanbul, TUR 100m Individual Medley 58.85
2 2012 Istanbul, TUR 50m Breaststroke 29.67
8 2010 Dubai, UAE 200m Breaststroke 2:25.49
6 2010 Dubai, UAE 50m Breaststroke 30.22
Semifinal 2010 Dubai, UAE 100m Breaststroke 1:06.05
Heats 2010 Dubai, UAE 100m Individual Medley 1:04.64
17 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 400m Individual Medley 5:10.82
17 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 50m Breaststroke 33.41
21 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 200m Individual Medley 2:30.38
22 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 100m Individual Medley 1:06.13
41 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 50m Freestyle 27.70
19 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 100m Breaststroke 1:12.12
35 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 100m Freestyle 59.24
32 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 200m Freestyle 2:16.41
24 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 200m Breaststroke 2:43.79
Pan American Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
7 2011 Guadalajara, MEX 100m Butterfly 1:01.17
4 2011 Guadalajara, MEX 100m Breaststroke 1:09.11
4 2011 Guadalajara, MEX 200m Breaststroke 2:30.96
2 2011 Guadalajara, MEX 200m Individual Medley 2:14.75
8 2007 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 100m Breaststroke 1:14.34
7 2007 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 100m Butterfly 1:02.92
8 2007 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 200m Breaststroke 2:40.19
5 2003 Santo Domingo, DOM 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:53.58
  2003 Santo Domingo, DOM 4 x 100m Medley Relay  DSQ
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
4 2019 Jinan, CHN 200m Breaststroke 2:31.00
1 2019 Jinan, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:07.06
1 2019 Jinan, CHN 50m Breaststroke 30.92
1 2019 Singapore, SGP 100m Breaststroke 1:07.35
1 2019 Singapore, SGP 50m Breaststroke 30.31
1 2019 Tokyo, JPN 50m Breaststroke 30.35
6 2018   Overall Ranking  
2 2018 Beijing, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:03.44
4 2018 Beijing, CHN 100m Butterfly 57.38
1 2018 Beijing, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.16
5 2018 Beijing, CHN 200m Breaststroke 2:24.34
4 2018 Beijing, CHN 100m Individual Medley 57.99
5 2018 Budapest, HUN 100m Individual Medley 59.03
1 2018 Budapest, HUN 100m Breaststroke 1:02.80
1 2018 Budapest, HUN 50m Breaststroke 28.56
8 2018 Eindhoven, NED 200m Breaststroke 2:25.03
2 2018 Eindhoven, NED 100m Breaststroke 1:03.74
1 2018 Eindhoven, NED 50m Breaststroke 29.18
5 2018 Singapore, SGP 100m Individual Medley 59.76
4 2018 Singapore, SGP 200m Breaststroke 2:25.78
1 2018 Singapore, SGP 100m Breaststroke 1:02.74
1 2018 Singapore, SGP 50m Breaststroke 28.93
6 2018 Tokyo, JPN 100m Individual Medley 59.27
1 2018 Tokyo, JPN 100m Breaststroke 1:03.09
8 2018 Tokyo, JPN 100m Butterfly 58.90
1 2018 Tokyo, JPN 50m Breaststroke 28.95
5 2017   Overall  
8 2017 Beijing, CHN 100m Individual Medley 1:02.06
1 2017 Beijing, CHN 200m Breaststroke 2:19.58
1 2017 Beijing, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.57
1 2017 Berlin, GER 200m Breaststroke 2:18.96
1 2017 Berlin, GER 100m Breaststroke 1:03.16
3 2017 Berlin, GER 100m Individual Medley 58.12
1 2017 Doha, QAT 100m Breaststroke 1:04.21
7 2017 Doha, QAT 200m Individual Medley 2:13.19
2 2017 Doha, QAT 200m Breaststroke 2:26.10
1 2017 Doha, QAT 50m Breaststroke 29.42
4 2017 Doha, QAT 50m Butterfly 26.59
1 2017 Eindhoven, NED 100m Breaststroke 1:02.67
1 2017 Eindhoven, NED 50m Breaststroke 28.84
8 2017 Eindhoven, NED 50m Butterfly 26.03
1 2017 Hong Kong, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:04.09
4 2017 Hong Kong, CHN 200m Individual Medley 2:12.34
4 2017 Hong Kong, CHN 100m Individual Medley 59.57
3 2017 Hong Kong, CHN 200m Breaststroke 2:26.70
1 2017 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.26
5 2017 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Butterfly 26.32
1 2017 Moscow, RUS 50m Breaststroke 29.46
4 2017 Moscow, RUS 100m Individual Medley 59.55
3 2017 Moscow, RUS 200m Breaststroke 2:20.63
3 2017 Moscow, RUS 100m Butterfly 57.56
1 2017 Singapore, SGP 50m Breaststroke 29.29
1 2017 Singapore, SGP 100m Breaststroke 1:03.79
2 2017 Tokyo, JPN 100m Breaststroke 1:04.15
2 2016   Overall  
1 2016 Beijing, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:03.42
8 2016 Beijing, CHN 50m Backstroke 29.23
3 2016 Beijing, CHN 200m Individual Medley 2:09.60
3 2016 Beijing, CHN 100m Individual Medley 59.60
1 2016 Beijing, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.15
4 2016 Beijing, CHN 50m Butterfly 26.32
2 2016 Berlin, GER 100m Breaststroke 1:03.10
4 2016 Berlin, GER 200m Individual Medley 2:08.39
6 2016 Berlin, GER 50m Freestyle 25.02
1 2016 Berlin, GER 50m Breaststroke 29.00
4 2016 Berlin, GER 100m Individual Medley 59.83
4 2016 Berlin, GER 50m Butterfly 25.86
1 2016 Doha, QAT 100m Breaststroke 1:03.18
4 2016 Doha, QAT 50m Backstroke 28.19
5 2016 Doha, QAT 200m Individual Medley 2:13.61
5 2016 Doha, QAT 50m Freestyle 24.88
1 2016 Doha, QAT 50m Breaststroke 28.98
3 2016 Doha, QAT 100m Individual Medley 1:00.51
4 2016 Doha, QAT 50m Butterfly 26.36
2 2016 Dubai, UAE 100m Breaststroke 1:03.32
4 2016 Dubai, UAE 200m Individual Medley 2:13.30
1 2016 Dubai, UAE 50m Breaststroke 29.02
2 2016 Dubai, UAE 100m Individual Medley 58.55
3 2016 Dubai, UAE 50m Butterfly 26.14
1 2016 Hong Kong, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:02.68
1 2016 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.20
2 2016 Hong Kong, CHN 100m Individual Medley 58.76
3 2016 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Butterfly 26.08
1 2016 Paris, FRA 100m Breaststroke 1:02.36 WR
2 2016 Paris, FRA 200m Individual Medley 2:07.89
1 2016 Singapore, SGP 100m Breaststroke 1:02.40
8 2016 Singapore, SGP 200m Individual Medley 2:14.32
3 2016 Singapore, SGP 100m Individual Medley 58.75
1 2016 Singapore, SGP 50m Breaststroke 28.91
5 2016 Singapore, SGP 50m Butterfly 26.17
1 2016 Tokyo, JPN 100m Breaststroke 1:02.91
1 2016 Tokyo, JPN 50m Breaststroke 28.64
3 2016 Tokyo, JPN 100m Individual Medley 58.32
5 2016 Tokyo, JPN 50m Butterfly 26.18
3 2014   Overall  
1 2014 Beijing, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:04.11
7 2014 Beijing, CHN 50m Butterfly 27.11
3 2014 Beijing, CHN 100m Individual Medley 59.05
1 2014 Beijing, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.15
1 2014 Doha, QAT 100m Breaststroke 1:03.79
1 2014 Doha, QAT 50m Breaststroke 29.12
1 2014 Dubai, UAE 100m Breaststroke 1:03.26
4 2014 Dubai, UAE 50m Backstroke 27.52
6 2014 Dubai, UAE 200m Individual Medley 2:11.54
4 2014 Dubai, UAE 50m Butterfly 26.63
2 2014 Dubai, UAE 100m Individual Medley 58.26
1 2014 Dubai, UAE 50m Breaststroke 29.12
1 2014 Hong Kong, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:03.23
4 2014 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Backstroke 27.37
3 2014 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Freestyle 24.65
2 2014 Hong Kong, CHN 200m Breaststroke 2:24.94
2 2014 Hong Kong, CHN 100m Individual Medley 59.82
1 2014 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.35
3 2014 Hong Kong, CHN 50m Butterfly 26.28
1 2014 Singapore, SGP 100m Breaststroke 1:02.54
3 2014 Singapore, SGP 200m Individual Medley 2:08.17
1 2014 Singapore, SGP 200m Breaststroke 2:17.84
7 2014 Singapore, SGP 100m Individual Medley 1:02.87
1 2014 Singapore, SGP 50m Breaststroke 29.00
1 2014 Tokyo, JPN 100m Breaststroke 1:02.86
2 2014 Tokyo, JPN 50m Breaststroke 29.66
2 2014 Tokyo, JPN 100m Individual Medley 58.47
2 2013   Overall  
1 2013 Beijing, CHN 100m Breaststroke 1:03.81
1 2013 Beijing, CHN 50m Breaststroke 29.20
2 2013 Beijing, CHN 100m Individual Medley 58.71
2 2013 Berlin, GER 100m Breaststroke 1:04.45
1 2013 Berlin, GER 50m Breaststroke 29.31
3 2013 Berlin, GER 100m Individual Medley 58.77
1 2013 Doha, QAT 100m Breaststroke 1:03.38
2 2013 Doha, QAT 50m Breaststroke 29.25
3 2013 Doha, QAT 200m Individual Medley 2:07.30
2 2013 Dubai, UAE 50m Breaststroke 29.38
1 2013 Dubai, UAE 100m Breaststroke 1:02.91
1 2013 Dubai, UAE 100m Individual Medley 58.45
6 2013 Dubai, UAE 50m Backstroke 27.82
1 2013 Eindhoven, NED 100m Breaststroke 1:03.90
1 2013 Eindhoven, NED 50m Breaststroke 29.42
3 2013 Eindhoven, NED 100m Individual Medley 59.11
3 2013 Moscow, RUS 100m Breaststroke 1:04.64
4 2013 Moscow, RUS 50m Backstroke 27.76
2 2013 Moscow, RUS 50m Breaststroke 29.33
3 2013 Moscow, RUS 100m Individual Medley 59.12
1 2013 Singapore, SGP 100m Breaststroke 1:03.48
6 2013 Singapore, SGP 200m Individual Medley 2:09.44
1 2013 Singapore, SGP 50m Breaststroke 28.94
3 2013 Singapore, SGP 100m Individual Medley 58.42
1 2013 Tokyo, JPN 100m Breaststroke 1:02.99
2 2013 Tokyo, JPN 50m Breaststroke 29.06
3 2013 Tokyo, JPN 100m Individual Medley 58.28