Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Alia loves to teach

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Alia Atkinson teaching children how to swim at her swimming clinic at the University of the West Indies pool yesterday.

Alia Atkinson, the World champion breaststroker, is enjoying her week-long swimming clinic as much as the youngsters who are in the pool with her at the University of the West Indies.

However, while she loves to teach, her future plans range far wider than coaching. In the first instance, she hopes to expand the clinic in the near future.

"I do like to share what knowledge I've collected over the years," said the 29-year-old champion, "and I've collected quite a few so it's pretty nice to share it with the kids, especially when it looks like they take it to heart possibly."

Accordingly to the four-time Olympian, the clinic's youngest participants were a delight. At first, she noted, they are playful, "but as soon as you get into it and tell what they're doing and explain to them why they're doing it and what's going to work, their eyes are looking, they're intrigued, and they're interested."

The Alia Atkinson Swim Clinic is sponsored by Western Union, FX Trader and Bill Express, and the swimmer thanked the university's Faculty of Sport and its Academy of Sport for making the pool available.

Asked if she might teach swimming or coach after she retires from competition, she outlined some of the ideas she has for projects in the future. An expansion of her clinic is just one of them, with the next step to focus on inner-city children.

Beyond that, she has her eyes on western Jamaica.

"Eventually, we want to start to build a pool in Montego Bay," she projected, "so we already have a site set up. We need to start talking about it, but that is the main goal to spread whatever we're doing here, expand it little by little, and eventually have somewhere where everybody can reach."