Yesterday Swimming Australia announced the passing of Olympic medalist Faith Leech who died on Saturday at her home in Bendigo at the age of 72.
Leech had great success as an age group swimmer and was guided by Coach Gus Froelich who was an innovator in his time. Unlike many of his Australian counterparts Froelich did not believe in over distance training and Leech’s regime consisted of one practice a day of no more than 3 km.
At 15 Leech was one of the standouts of the Australian Olympic team in 1956 and joined Dawn Fraser and others in lifting the Australian women to new heights.
Leech competed in both the 100 freestyle and the 4 x 100 freestyle relay at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. In the individual event Leech finished third behind Australian teammates Fraser and Lorraine Crapp.
In the 4 x 100 freestyle relay the three women were joined by Sandra Morgan and went on to become the first Australian women’s team to win Olympic gold.
After the games Leech retired from the sport on the advice of her doctors who felt that severe anxiety she suffered before competing was a determent to her health.