Learn from Alia - Lamey
Handel Lamey, president of the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), wants upcoming local swimmers to learn as much as possible from the global swim star Alia Atkinson before she retires.
"From here, she has a lot of experience out there in the international events, it's just for her to be able to share with our younger swimmers, who are coming up, and she was able to do that in Windsor, Canada recently. We had a young team with her," he told The Gleaner.
Lamey continued that the budding athletes were able to learn from Atkinson and see competition at that level, noting it will help position them to learn from her before she transitions out of the sport.
"She (Atkinson) has tremendous motivation and focus, and I think that is something that augers well for her, and also for the swimmers that are coming up, we are hoping they can learn from her to really emulate her," Lamey pointed out.
Atkinson recently won three medals at the Short Course (SC) World Championships and broke the 50m breaststroke SC world record, despite failing to pick up her long sought Olympic medal.
"After the Olympics, that was really disappointing for her. I know that she was expecting to do very well there because she was coming off a period that she equalled the world record at the time and then she broke it, so she was expecting big things and it just didn't work that way," Lamey underlined
He remarked with pleasure that the 28-year-old was able to bounce back after her Olympics disappointments, while describing the publicity she has given the local swim fraternity as "immense".
"She gives us tremendous publicity, not only here in Jamaica, but overseas. Once we are on tours with the senior team and once we call her name, we here in Jamaica get the publicity because she is born and bred, and we automatically get that level of exposure because when you look out there in the swimming environment, there are not many black swimmers," added the local swim boss.
Lamey stressed that the upcoming youngsters will be able to learn from some of the challenges Atkinson has faced over the years, which she was able to overcome.
Atkinson is a nominee for the RJR Sports Foundational 2016 National Sportswoman of the Year award.
She previously won the award in 2014.