Maritza “Ritz” (Correia) McClendon

Maritza “Ritz” (Correia) McClendon

Maritza “Ritz” Correia McClendon is a 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the 4x100m freestyle relay. She was the first woman of color to make an Olympic swimming team for the United States and medal. Ritz swam for the University of Georgia where she was a member of two Bulldog NCAA Championship teams and earned Student-Athlete of the Year honors in 2003. She was the only swimmer in SEC history to win a SEC title in every freestyle event. Ritz competed internationally as a member of multiple USA teams including World Championships, World University Games, and the Pan-American Games. In 2014, Ritz was recognized as a recipient of the USA Swimming Diversity and Inclusion Award. The following year, she was inducted into the University of Georgia’s Circle of Honor.

Today, Ritz continues to champion swimming as an advisory board member for Blueprint of Success and Diversity in Aquatics. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho and promotes the importance of swimming to her sisters across the country.

Career Highlights

  • 2004 USA Olympic Team silver medalist
  • 2006 World Championships silver and bronze medalist
  • 2003 World Championships gold medalist
  • 2001 World Championships silver medalist
  • 2007 Pan-American 2x gold medalist
  • 2005 World University Games 3x gold medalist
  • 27x All-American
  • 11x NCAA Champion
  • First African American female swimmer to make US Olympic team and win a medal
  • First African American to break a World Record in swimming
  • First African American female to hold American Records

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