Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson is an inspiration to young swimming sensation Zaneta Alvaranga
One of the biggest rising stars in Jamaica’s youth swimming is Immaculate Conception High School student Zaneta Alvaranga, and not surprisingly, she draws a lot of inspiration from Jamaica’s queen in the pool, Alia Atkinson.
Alvaranga, who recently returned from Trinidad and Tobago where she was once again the star of the show, missed the swimming clinic put on by Jamaica’s Olympic star, but was able to catch up with her hero at the end of the final session last Thursday.
The shy 13-year-old expressed just how much of an inspiration Atkinson has been to her in a quick chat with the Jamaica Observer.
“She is a big inspiration to me because she is the first black woman to have broken a (world) record and she is also one of the few Jamaican swimmers to represent us in the Olympics. She has gone there more than once, so I really look up to her for that. She has been consistent and I hope to emulate that,” said Alvaranga.
Though still young, Alvaranga already has her priorities straight as far as swimming and her education goes. She stated clearly that school is priority one, despite her own dreams of representing Jamaica at the Olympic Games some time in the future.
“I have to focus on school, so I would try for when I am 20 years old to represent Jamaica, but if I can get it before and still be able to on top of my schoolwork, then that would be nice,” she explained.
Alvaranga is also happy with the effort made by Atkinson to stay in touch with the younger Jamaican swimmers.