Joann Leilich (USA)
2016 Honor Masters Swimmer
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS (SWIMMER): World Points-812, Pre 1986 Points-65. Total Points 877. Since 1981, she has competed in 8 age groups (40-44 through 75-79). 26 FINA MASTERS WORLD RECORDS
Joann Leilich grew up in Chicago and took swim lessons at the famous New Trier High School. It was the pre-Title IX era and they didn’t have girls teams in those days, so she swam with the boys all the way through high school.
When it was time to decide on college, she had two requirements, swimming and mathematics, Joann’s major. There were very few schools that had women’s swim teams, so she chose Purdue. She swam for the Lafayette swim club, which was not officially sponsored by the university but she had a university coach, Hall of Fame Honor Coach Dick “Pappy” Papenguth.
After college, Joann married and had children. Her children swam AAU and it was through some of the other children’s parents that she learned about Masters swimming. It was 1981 and she was living in Virginia when she entered her first meet. She swam a novice event, the 50 back and says she was hooked! She then joined the DC Masters at the Fun ‘n Fitness Club, coached by John Flanagan.
She attended her first U.S. Masters National Short Course Championships in 1982 at the Woodlands, Texas. Joann fondly remembers the camaraderie among the swimmers and feeling of being instantly included.
Joann has attended four FINA World Masters Championships and been in the Top Ten for 35 years, accumulating a total of 83-number one, 34-number two, and 17-number three world rankings. She also has set 26 FINA Masters World Records, 12 long course and 14 short course, all in the breaststroke events.
In addition to her swimming, Joann has served as Registrar of the Potomac Valley LMSC, editor of the DC Masters newsletter and as chairman of the USMS Registration Committee under President Tom Boak.