| Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Maritza (Correia) McClendon is a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist and the first African American woman to make a US Olympic team and medal. At the age of 7 she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. Doctors recommended swim lessons as a medical remedy.
Swimming under Olympic Coach Peter Banks, in Florida she emerged as one of the top recruits in the country out of High School. Earning a scholarship to the University of Georgia (BA in Sociology, 2005) under Olympic Coach Jack Bauerle, she ended her college career as a 27-time All American, 11 NCAA titles, the first woman of color to break an individual American record, and to break a World Record in swimming.
By the time Maritza’s competitive swimming career ended, she had earned 12 international medals. While no longer swimming competitively, Maritza still actively engages communities nationwide to inspire people to lead a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially swimming.
Additionally, she is a passionate advocate for the importance of water safety among minorities at any age and travels the country frequently to speak about this life saving skill. Currently located in Atlanta, GA, Maritza is now a wife and a mom of two and works at Carter's Inc as Sr. Brand Marketing Manager.
Swim Career Highlights
- 2004 Olympic silver medalist in 400m FR
- First African American female 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
- Three-Time World Champion
- 11-Time NCAA Champion
- 27- Time NCAA All American
- Team USA Team Captain, 2003, 2005, 2007
- Most Valuable Student-Athlete at University of Georgia, 2003
- 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
- USA Swimming Diversity and Inclusion Award, 2014
- University of Georgia Circle of Honor Inductee, 2015
- Advisory Board for Blueprint for Success, 2015
- Advisory Board for Diversity in Aquatics, 2015
- Spokesperson for USA Swimming Program, Swim 1922