American Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer
Maritza Correia was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 7, her doctor urged her to take swim lessons or gymnastics as her course of treatment. Since Maritza lived in Puerto Rico with access to many beaches she opted for swimming and the rest is history. When she qualified for the USA Olympic Team in 2004, she became the first Puerto Rican of African descent to be on the USA Olympic Swimming Team. She also became the first Black United States swimmer to set an American and World swimming record.
Eventually pain began to catch up with Maritza and she retired in 2007 after swimming her in final event.
“I swam for 20 years. . . . I’m proud of what I accomplished”
CLEAR policy is to discourage excessive swimming, such as competitive swimming, as it will tend to flatten the normal curve in the middle (thoracic) spine. Swimming many laps everyday for hours causes the thoracic spine to become more flat (hypokyphosis) and this flattening of the thoracic spine can drive the curve of the thoracic spine to progress. It is important that all 3 dimensions of the spine are as close to normal as possible to avoid a scoliosis from worsening.
CLEAR protocols do however encourage exercise, just very specific isometric strengthening and targeted stretching. The program of scoliosis exercises is individually designed for each case.