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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Afro-Latina All-American Swimmer


  Afro Latina   Black Latina   Afro-Puerto Rican   Black Puerto Rican
Maritza Correia was the first Afro-Latina of Puerto Rican heritage to set an American and world swimming record in the Olympics."Ritz,"as she is called, was born on December 23, 1981, and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico where her parents, from Guyana in South America resettled. At the age of seven, Ritz was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, and her doctor recommended that she take swimming lessons to improve her condition. Once Maritza “Ritz” Correia got started, she never left the pool.

After her family moved to Tampa, Florida, Maritza Correia went out for the swimming team at the high school she was attending, Tampa Bay Technical, and won the U.S. National High School Championship in the 50-meter freestyle, and became a six-time Florida High School State Champion in five swimming events. At the age of 16, Ritz became a member of the USA National Junior Team that competed in Sweden, and at the age of 18, competed on the USA Short Course World Championship Team in Hong Kong.

 

After high school graduation, Correia got accepted into the University of Georgia and joined the Lady Bulldogs' Swimming and Diving Team, winning first place in the 400 meter freestyle relay, and earned a share of the SEC Commissioner's Trophy for high point honors. She was the first and only swimmer in SEC history to win an SEC title in all Freestyle events. During her college career she was a 27-time All-American, and 11-ime NCAA Champion.

Although, she competed in the trials for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, she missed making the team, but won a gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle and two bronze medals in the medley relay, and 400 meter freestyle relay in the World Championships held in Japan.

 
 
In 2002, Correia became the national champion in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle and was a member of two winning relay teams at the NCAA Championships held in Austin, Texas. She set the NCAA, American and U.S. Open records with a time of 21.69 in the 50-yard freestyle, and earned seven All-American certificates.

Correia graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Sociology in 2005. The year she won three gold medals at the 2005 Summer University Games in Izmir, Turkey. The Georgia graduate was a 27-time All-American athlete..