In Memory: Angela Coughlan, Bronze Medal Swimmer

Forty years ago, freestyle swimming records were made to be broken… by Angela Coughlan. The Canadian Olympic Team remembers Coughlan, one of Canada’s top swimmers in the late 1960s and early 1970s, who passed away on June 14 following relapsed multiple myeloma. She was 56.

Born in London, England, the Toronto resident had a strong showing at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games. She won a bronze medal with Marion Lay, Marilyn Corson and triple medallist Elaine Tanner in the 4×100-metre medley relay. Coughlan swam in four other freestyle races at those Games, coming in sixth in the 800 metres and seventh in the 400 metres.

Coughlan won eight medals at two Pan American Games. The 1967 Games in Winnipeg proved to be her first international competition but she certainly had no jitters. Coughlan won a silver medal in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay as well as three bronze medals in the 800-, 400- and 200-metre freestyle races. Four years later at the next Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, she captured gold as anchor swimmer in the 4×100-metre medley relay. She added three silver medals in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay, 100- and 200-metre freestyle races.

Nestled between the Pan American appearances was the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. Coughlan won three silver medals (200- and 400-metre freestyle, 4×100-metre freestyle relay) and a bronze in the 4×100-metre medley relay. In this incredible period from 1967 to 1971, she not only won 13 medals at the world’s major swimming competitions, but an additional 23 national championships while setting 13 national freestyle records in Canada and one world record.

Coughlan is survived by daughters Jessica, Leigh and Katie, her brother Steve, her mother Denise and husband Lynn Sharp.