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Faith Leech

Faith Leech

Australian swimmer, olympic gold medallist, former world record-holder

Faith Yvonne Leech (31 March 1941 – 14 September 2013) was an Australian freestyle swimmer who won a gold medal in the 4×100–metre freestyle relay and bronze in the 100-metre freestyle at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.

A tall and lean swimmer known for her elegant technique, Leech started swimming as a child to build strength after a series of stomach disorders in her infancy. She quickly rose to prominence after breaking a string of age group records. In 1955, she became the youngest swimmer to win an Australian title, claiming victory in the 110-yard freestyle at the age of 13. She twice broke the Australian record in the 100-yard freestyle in late 1955, thereby positioning herself as a leading contender for Olympic selection in 1956. Leech's preparation was hindered by illness, which forced her out of the 1956 Australian Championships, but she recovered to gain Olympic selection in both the 100-metre freestyle and the corresponding relay. Leech produced a late surge to take bronze in the individual event and seal an Australian trifecta, before swimming the second leg in the relay to help secure an Australian victory in world record time. Leech retired after the Olympics at the age of 15; she cited anxiety caused by racing as one of the main factors in her decision.

Timeline

March 31, 1941
Faith Leech was born in Bendigo.

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

Aussie Gold. Albion, Queensland: Brooks Waterloo.

Howell, Max

1986

Australia at the Olympic Games. Sydney, New South Wales

Andrews, Malcolm

2000

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