Bendigo Aquatic Centre to be renamed after Olympic swimmer

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Council has voted to rename the Bendigo Aquatic Centre after Olympic swimmer Faith Leech.

The facility will be known as the ‘Faith Leech Aquatic Centre’ in honour of Leech, who is Bendigo’s only Olympic gold medallist. She won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay and bronze in the 100m freestyle at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

A new name for the facility was considered following a public naming process to name the new aquatic and wellbeing centre currently under construction in Kangaroo Flat.

At the October Council meeting, Council named it the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre but a number of residents put forward the suggestion of naming the facility after Faith Leech.

Cr O’Rourke said the Leech family wanted Faith’s name attached to whichever facility would host the majority of local swimming competitions.

“Faith trained and taught swimming at the Bendigo Aquatic Centre and Council has discussed this proposal with her family, which is supportive of the idea provided her name is associated with Greater Bendigo’s premier competition pool,” Cr O’Rourke said.

“The Bendigo Aquatic Centre remains the most suitable venue for major swimming carnivals and school competitions due to its capacity to cater for large crowds.

“The Leech family want to ensure young people are able to learn more about Faith’s achievements and be inspired by her story of overcoming serious health issues, including curvature of the spine, to triumph at the highest level.

“Council believes re-naming the Bendigo Aquatic Centre after Faith is also a fitting contribution to the city’s sports precinct along Barnard Street, which includes the Tom Flood Sports Centre for cycling and the Frank McCaig stand located within it, and the Kel Pell Tennis Pavilion.”

Council will now commence the formal re-naming process with the Office of Geographic Names and will hold a re-naming celebration in the New Year.

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