Sports alliance names swimmer as top athlete

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martin_michelle.jpgSome eight years ago, Michelle Martin could barely swim one length in a pool. But she decided to change that, joining the Atlanta Rainbow Trout to train and eventually swim competitively.

Now, she dominates the pool, holds team records and ranks in the Top 10 of the U.S. Masters’ Swimming Dixie Zone for 19 events. Martin also holds three individual championship records with International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics, the world organizing body for gay swimming.

She started it all at the age of 50.

Martin, known among fellow swimmers as “Madame Butterfly” and now the Trout’s swimming director, was recognized for her accomplishments on Sunday as the Atlanta Gay Sports Alliance named her its Sportsperson of the Year. The inaugural award was unveiled during AGSA’s two-hour meet-and-greet at Blake’s on the Park to raise awareness of its eight sports organizations.

Martin was one of three finalists for the new award. Mark Davis, a founder of AGSA and a longtime team captain with the Hotlanta Volleyball Association, and Brian Lazzaro, a team captain with the Atlanta Team Tennis Association, were also up for the award. AGSA organizations nominated an athlete or team for the award with the AGSA board selecting the finalists and winner.

Also at the event, Blake’s General Manager Ray Matheson pledged to donate $300 to each of the eight AGSA groups.

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