THREE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION  •  11-TIME NCAA CHAMPION  •  27-TIME NCAA ALL AMERICAN  •  OLYMPIC SILVER MEDAL IN 2004 IN 400M FR  •  FIRST FEMALE AFRICAN AMERICAN SWIMMER TO MAKE US OLYMPIC TEAM AND WIN A MEDAL  •  FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO BREAK A WORLD RECORD IN SWIMMING  •  FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE TO HOLD AMERICAN RECORDS  •  FORMER AMERICAN RECORD HOLDER IN 50Y FREESTYLE AND 100Y FREESTYLE  •  TWO-TIME PAN AMERICAN GAME GOLD MEDALIST  •  THREE MEDALS AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS   •  FOUR GOLD MEDALS AT 2005 WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES
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Maritza Correia

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Personal Quotes
It's really hard for minorities to get the facilities. It's a very expensive sport. My goal is to get more pools built.
Personal Info

Born On:  December 23, 1981
Hometown:  San Juan, Puerto Rico
Resides:  Brandon, Florida
Education:  University of Georgia
Height:  5'9

Biography

In 2002, Maritza Correia made history when she became the first black woman to break an American record. She later became the first black woman to earn a place on the 2004 U.S. Olympic swim team. An inspiration to many in the world of competitive sports, Correia grew up in Florida with her parents and two older brothers. At the suggestion of her doctor, Correia started swimming when she was just 7 years old. She had scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, and swimming helped mitigate the effects of her disorder.

Initially therapeutic, swimming soon became Correia's passion. Growing up in Tampa Bay, Correia and her brother Justin competed on the Brandon Blue Wave Swim Team and were often times the only black athletes competing in their events. Correia tore through the high school ranks, winning the 100 freestyle all four years and eventually went on to compete for the University of Georgia.

At Georgia, she went on to set two records in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events at the Women's NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas— making her the first black woman to set an American record in swimming. In 2004, Correia made history as the first black woman to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic swim team. She helped secure the silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Following the Olympics, Correia continued to improve and took home four gold medals at the 2005 World University Games. Finally after years of training, workouts, travel and competition - Maritza Correia competed in her last meet at the 2007 US Nationals. "I swam for 20 years ... I'm proud of what I accomplished," she told the St. Petersburg Times. Correia remains a strong and visible personality in the world of competitive swimming and women’s sports.

She continues to promote the sport as a spokesperson for USA Swimming and for the Women's Sports Foundation, which was created by another female sports pioneer, tennis great Billie Jean King. Traveling around the country, Correia often discusses her experiences with inner-city kids and encourages them to give swimming a try. She currently works for Nike Swim and lives with her husband and two children in Portland, Oregon.