Maritza Correia

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Maritza Correia
Olympic Medalist Maritza Correia takes the Pledge (25899205524).jpg
Correia in April 2016
Personal information
National team United States
Born (1981-12-23) December 23, 1981 (age 37)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight134 lb (61 kg)
ClubBrandon Blue Wave
College teamUniversity of Georgia

Maritza Correia (born December 23, 1981), also known by her married name Maritza McClendon, is an Olympic swimmer from the United States. When she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in 2004, she became the first Puerto Rican of African descent to be a member of the U.S. Olympic swimming team. She also became the first black American swimmer to set an American and world swimming record.[2]

Early years[edit]

Correia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her parents, Vincent and Anne, had moved there from Guyana. In 1988, when Correia was seven years old, she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis.[3] Her doctor recommended that she take swimming classes and use swimming as a treatment for her condition. In 1990, her family moved and settled in Tampa, Florida.[4]

Correia attended Tampa Bay Technical High School and joined the school's swimming team. In 1999, she became the U.S. National Champion in the 50m freestyle in the 18 and under category.[5] She was also a six time Florida High School State Champion in the 5 different events. Correia was a member of the 1997 USA National Junior Team that competed in Sweden and of the 1999 USA Short Course World Championship Team which competed in Hong Kong.[3]

In 1999, Correia joined the University of Georgia Lady Bulldogs swimming and diving team.[6] She aided the team when they won their title in the 400m freestyle relay. She earned a share of the SEC Commissioner's Trophy for high point honors. 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 Time NCAA Champion.[5]

National Champion, Olympics, Universiade[edit]

Correia hoped to participate at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She went to the Olympic Trials, but she missed making the team.[5]

In 2001, Correia won a gold medal in the 800m freestyle and two bronze medals in the medley and 400m freestyle relay as a member of the U.S. Team at the 2001 World Championship celebrated in Japan.[5]

In 2002, Correia became the national champion in both the 50y and 100y freestyle and was a member of two winning relay teams at the NCAA Championships celebrated in Austin, Texas. She set the NCAA, American and U.S. Open records with a time of 21.69 in the 50 y freestyle, surpassing Amy Van Dyken's mark of 21.77 set in 1994. She earned seven All-American certificates and she was awarded the Commissioner's Cup as the high point scorer in the SEC Championships.[5]

In 2003, Correia earned a gold medal swimming on prelim 400 m free relay at the World Championships. In 2004, she won a gold medal swimming prelims at the 400 m free relay at the Short Course World Championships and earned an Olympic silver medal swimming prelims of the 400m free relay at the 2004 Olympic Games celebrated in Athens, Greece.

Correia attended the University of Georgia as a Sociology major and graduated in 2005. In 2005, she won three golds at the 2005 Summer Universiade in Izmir, Turkey.[6]

After swimming[edit]

In March 2010, Maritza married Chad McClendon. January 1, 2012 their son Kason was born. Then September 25, 2013 a daughter, Sanaya Anne was born.[7][8]

McClendon is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.


  • 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist- 400FR
  • First African American Female to make the US Olympic Swim team
  • 2000 NCAA Champion, 200 m free, 400 m free, 400 m MR
  • 2001 NCAA Champion 800 y Free Relay
  • 2002 NCAA Champion 50 y free, 100 y free, 200 y free relay, 400 y free relay
  • 2003 NCAA Champion 50 y Free, 100 Free
  • All-American 2000-03- 27 time All American
  • World Record Holder in the 400MR SCM at 2000 NCAA Championships
  • American, NCAA, U.S. Open Record Holder 50 y freestyle 21.69 in 2002
  • American, NCAA, U.S. Open Record Holder 200 y freestyle relay 1:28.74 in 2002
  • American, NCAA, U.S. Open Record Holder 400 y freestyle relay 3:13.71 in 2002
  • 2001 and 2003– Two time world Champion in 400 Free Relay
  • 2005 Four Gold Medals at the World University Games- 50 free, 400 FR, 400MR, and 800 FR
  • 2006 Silver Medalist at World Championships- 100 Free
  • 2007– Two time Pan American Games Champion- 400 FR and 400 MR

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pan American Games Rio 2007 Results". Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved July 29, 2007.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b BLACK HISTORY MONTH: NATIONAL TEAM PIONEERS Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Real Health
  5. ^ a b c d e "Olympic medalist knows about physical challenges – Tampa Bay Times". Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  6. ^ a b NABJ Sports Task Force
  7. ^ 20 Question Tuesday: Maritza Correia McClendon Archived September 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, January 31, 2012.
  8. ^ An Interview with Maritza McClendon Archived September 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, February 22, 2012.

External links[edit]