By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, August 23, 2021—Five-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson has added another honor to her never-ending resume.
The South Florida Aquatic Club world short course and national record holder joins comedian Oliver Samuels, poet/author Linton Kwesi Johnson and philanthropist Gary “Butch” Hendrickson as this year’s recipients of honorary Doctors of Letters or Laws from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus in St. Andrew.
They will be honored November 4-5 for their outstanding contributions to regional and international development. Samuels and Johnson will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree while Atkinson and Hendrickson will receive honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
They join a list of more than 450 honorary degree recipients awarded by the regional university since 1965. The awards presentations during the college’s annual graduation ceremony are expected to be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Atkinson previously received an Order of Distinction, Commander of Class, from the Government in 2018.
GROTERS STARTS CLASSES AT USC
Former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swimming Club swimmer Patrick Groters of Aruba will be competing for the University of South Carolina after spending two seasons at Denver.
“It’s amazing,” Groters said on his Instagram account.
“I am beyond thrilled for the opportunity to continue my college swimming career at University of South Carolina under Jeff Poppell. I know this is my chance to improve, to get to the next level in my races.”
Groters is a 2020 Summit League champion in the 200-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley. He trained with his older brother Jordy for nine months at his club team Giants Aquatics Aruba before transferring.
Groters swam his best time in the 200 IM (2:01.62) at the 2019 U.S. Open. He missed the standard for selection to Aruba’s Olympic Team, but was the only Aruban to swim an Olympic B-standard during the pandemic, in 2:02.95 and 2:01.96 in the 200 IM at the 2021 Bahamas National Swimming Championships.
Groters has qualified for both the 2021 FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi and 2022 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. He will represent Aruba in December at the Junior Pan-American Games in Cali, Colombia in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, 200 and 400 IMs and 400 freestyle.
MISSY FRANKLIN IS A MOM
Five-time Olympic gold medalist and her husband, former University of Texas swimmer Hayes Johnson, announced the birth of their daughter on Instagram.
“She’s more perfect than anything we could have ever imagined,” the post reads. “We love you so much Caitlin.”
Sarah Caitlin Johnson was born on Aug. 11 at 4:17 a.m., a birthday she shares with her grandfather, Franklin’s dad.
Franklin was one of the sport’s biggest stars when she captured four gold medals and a bronze as a 17-year-old high-schooler at the 2012 London Olympics. She competed at the 2016 Rio Games, where she was plagued by shoulder injuries but still managed another gold medal as a relay swimmer.
“I began to realize that my greatest dream in life, more so than Olympic gold, has always been becoming a mom,” Franklin said. “Swimming had been such a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember, but it was not my entire life.”
LOCHTE REHABBING AFTER KNEE SURGERY
Four-time Olympian Ryan Lochte, 36, of Gainesville underwent successful knee surgery after he suffered a torn meniscus during an inflatable kids water slide accident while playing with his two kids.
Lochte posted a selfie to his Instagram account from his Orthopaedic Surgery Center hospital bed in which he was giving the thumbs up, underneath the caption which read, ‘Surgery was a success.’ “Hey everyone, surgery went amazing, I’m all good, I feel great right now,” he said.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com