Born in London England in October of 1952 and arriving in Burlington in 1959, this graduate of M.M. Robinson High School was a swimming prodigy as a young child although she almost drowned at the age of two. Angela fell unnoticed into a public pool and the lifeguards did not see her. Her father came frantically to her rescue.
At the age of nine, Angela won all the swimming events at a summer camp. The counselors suggested that she consider competitive swimming. So, in 1963, at the age of 11, Angela joined the Hamilton Aquatic Club and was coached by the legendary Jimmy Thompson. Training and preparing for competition in the early 60’s was challenging. There were no adequate facilities in Burlington and Angela would travel to Hamilton, often early in the morning, complete her workout and then return to school for the day.
To this day Angela is a World Record Holder in the freestyle 1650 yard (mile) event, but because it was held in a 25yard pool the record was deleted in 1969 by the International Aquatic Federation because the pool was too short. She was the Canadian freestyle champion in all distances (100, 200, 400, 800 metres) from 1968 to 1971, a feat unmatched in Canadian swimming history.
In the 1967 Pan American Games Angela won 3 individual Bronze medals and silver as a member of the 4 x 100 relay team. In the 1968 Olympics, Angela was ill and could not compete individually but she pulled herself out of sickbay to be part of the Canadian 4 x 100 Free Style team that earned a Bronze medal. . In the 1970 Commonwealth Games, Angela won Gold in the 100 Free style and Silver in the 200 freestyle as well as Silver in 2 relays. In the ’71 Pan Americans, she won 2 silver medals and a bronze individually, as well as Gold in the 4 x 100 medley relay.
Some of her other achievements and awards include being named:
- 1971 ~ City of Burlington dedicates the Angela Coughlan Swimming Pool and named Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year
- 1976 ~ Elected to the Canadian Swimming Hall of Fame
- 1978 ~ Elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame
- 1995 ~ Invested with the Order of Ontario
Angela passed away in 2009.