Maritza Correia

A swimmer who has changed the world in her own way


Have you ever thought about how a famous athlete might have changed the world in a way only by doing what they love? An incredibly hard-working and strong woman, Maritza Correia has changed the the world and is an inspiration to many people in the world of competitive sports and swimming. Even though this amazing swimmer’s career began with being diagnosed with a horrible disease, she is still a fantastic swimmer. Maritza Correia is not only a swimmer, but a difference in the world too.

Early Life

Every athlete has to start somewhere, Maritza Correia’s life of swimming started out not quite the way it might be for normal swimmers . She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 23 1981. At age seven Maritza Correia was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. For her condition, the doctor suggested swimming. In 1990 Correia’s family moved to Florida. There, she joined the swim team. Correia became a national champion in the 50 meter freestyle in the 18 and under section. Swimming even brought Correia around the world to places like Sweden, and Hong Kong. Maritza Correia’s swimming life is different, because it all started with an idea from a doctor to help treat a condition. Who knew a swimming career could start like Correia’s did.

Adult Life

As an adult, Maritza Correia continued to improve and compete in swimming. In 1999 Correia attended the University of Georgia and joined the school swim team. They were called the Lady Bulldogs swimming and diving team. Correia helped the team when they won their title in a freestyle relay. During her college career, Correia won many awards and continued to do competitive swimming. A year later in 2000, she tried out for the olympics. Correia hoped to be on a relay team but didn’t make it. Maritza Correia continued swimming and four years later tried out for the olympics again. This time she made it! However, she didn’t just make it on the team, she and her team won gold medals. During the year of 2005, Maritza Correia graduated as a Sociology major. In 2010, Maritza Correia got married to Chad McClendon and one year later they had their first child, Kason. Even though this might have been the end of her swimming career, Maritza Correia accomplished a lot and remains famous due to her ability to swim so well.

Major Accomplishments

While Maritza Correia may have accomplished small things throughout her life, she also accomplished a much bigger thing, which made the world just a bit different. Maritza Correia was the very first african american woman to make an olympic swim team. This is important because Correia has helped to prove that African Americans are the same as everyone else. There aren’t many people who can do that. During her journey people may have discouraged her, but Maritza Correia powered through and became a difference in the world. Not only did Correia make the team, her team also won gold medals first place. Some people might have thought the team wouldn’t do as well with her on the team, but they were wrong. Like Lynda Davis said, “ If you think of something, do it,” and Maritza Correia did that, having olympic dreams, can really change your life.


Powerful, amazing, strong, those are three words that come to mind when I think of the name Maritza Correia. While it is one thing to swim well, it is another to take part in the civil rights movement while doing so. I learned that swimming can change the world in its own way, and probably many other sports can too. In order for that to happen though, you need someone courageous and strong to have a dream.