Name change celebration to honour Bendigo's golden girl

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The City of Greater Bendigo will hold a naming celebration this Saturday to mark the Bendigo Aquatic Centre being re-named the Faith Leech Aquatic Centre.

Faith Leech won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay and bronze in the 100m freestyle at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said she was thrilled the pool was being re-named in honour of Faith.

“Faith is Bendigo’s original golden girl. While we have seen many local sports stars go on to achieve highly at world sporting competitions, she is our only Olympic gold medallist,” Cr O’Rourke said.

“Faith’s name is 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, as well as the Kel Pell Tennis Pavilion.”

Council agreed to re-name the pool ‘Faith Leech Aquatic Centre’ after the name was first suggested for the new aquatic and wellbeing centre in Kangaroo Flat.

Faith’s family wanted her name attached to whichever facility would host the most local swimming competitions. The Faith Leech Aquatic Centre remains the most suitable venue for major swimming carnivals and school competitions due to its capacity to cater for large crowds.

Adam Tuohy, Faith’s son, said he hoped his mother’s story would inspire future generations of swimmers.

“Mum overcame serious health issues, including curvature of the spine, to triumph at the highest level. She loved to compete and gave back to the sport after she retired in helping people of all abilities to learn to swim,” Mr Tuohy said.

“Saturday will be a very proud day for our family. It is wonderful that mum has been recognised in this way.”

A large-scale mural and new signage will be unveiled on Saturday as part of the celebration.

 

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