Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member


Inducted in 2015

Member Details

Date of Birth: 1926
Date of Passing: 2004
Sport: Swimming
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1947 & 1949

2nd place -  5-mile World Swimming Championship  



Winnifred "Winnie" Frances Roach-Leuszler was the first Canadian to swim the English Channel in 1951 and posted a time of 13 hours and 25 minutes.  She had many sport talents including becoming Canada’s first female baseball umpire, but long-distance swimming was her calling that was discovered early in her life with her first win at the age of 9. She trained at the Maple Leaf Swim Club and continued to compete, winning local, provincial, national, North American and international medals throughout her career and as a member of the Canadian Women’s Corp in WWII.

Winnie’s incredible drive was apparent on all occasions but never more so than when she placed 2nd in the 5-mile World Swimming Championship in 1947, three months after giving birth to her first child. In the same race in 1949 she placed 2nd while she was 4 months pregnant.  Winnie was instrumental in establishing the first handicap swimming program in the 1940’s and, after her retirement from competitive swimming, she taught countless children and adults through the learn-to-swim program.  

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