Feel free to break out the Schmoney dance for this one! Black girls do swim contrary to popular belief!
At just 25-years-old, Alia Atkinson not only won the World Title in Swimming on Saturday, she was the first Black woman ever to do so! The title the Jamaican swimmer won was for the Women’s 100 breaststroke at the FINA World Swimming Championships, held in Doha, Qatar. Even better news: there’s video of her historic accomplishment and good Lordt, it’s exhilarating! You can hear the sports broadcaster on the edge of his seat as Atkinson secured a place in the record books!
The competition was set to be a tight one as Atkinson’s peer, 17-year-old Ruta Meilutye, for Lithuania, was originally expected to win. Atkinson beat her by .1 seconds! She shared with AFP her reaction once she’d gained her breath at the finish line: “I couldn’t believe it! I just… looked up at the board and it didn’t really click yet and then it really started to click. It took a while!”
The Jamaican native has been actively competing in the last ten years. She was at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, and in the latter she finished in 25th place for the 200 breaststroke. She won a gold medal at the 2010 NCAA championships, which was another first for Jamaica. Per CNN, the first Black woman to win a swimming world record was Enith Brigitha of Holland almost 40 years ago.
Congrats are definitely in order for Atkinson! Now can we finally let go of those stereotypes that Black people can’t swim or don’t like water!?