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Angela Coughlan Passes Away

Jun 16, 2009  - Nick Thierry

Angela Coughlan, Canadian Olympic swimmer, has passed away at the age of 56 after battling cancer.

Angela had a successful international career with medals at all the major Games available in the 1967-71 period. Winner of 23 Canadian championships during that period, with a sweep of all freestyle events from 1968 to 1971, she bettered one world and 13 Canadian long-course freestyle records between 1967 to 1971.

Her first international appearance was at the 1967 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, the first meet at which electronic timing was tested. Coughlan won three bronze medals, in the 200, 400, and 800 free, and a silver in the 4x100 free relay.

At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, she claimed bronze in the 4x100 free relay with Canadian teammates Marilyn Corson, Elaine Tanner and Marion Lay), and competed in the 100, 200, 400 (7th), and 800 free (6th).

In 1970 at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh she won the 100 freestyle ahead of Australians Lynne Watson and Jenny Watts, and added silver medals in the 200, 400 free, and the 4x100 free relay, and a bronze in the 4x100 medley relay.

At the 1971 Pan-American Games in Cali (COL) she won gold in anchoring the 4x100 medley relay, and added silvers in the 100, 200 free, and 4x100 free relay. Named in recognition of her achievements, the Angela Coughlan Swimming Pool can be found in  Burlington, Ontario. 

Born on October 4, 1952, in London, Ontario, Angela married fellow swimmer Tom Arusoo in 1973 and together they had three daughters. Divorced from Tom 10 years later, Angela studied to become a massage therapist and was a familiar sight at many swim competitions from the mid 1980s for close to 20 years, until she fell ill.

She is survived by daughters Jessica, Leigh amd Katie, her brother Steve, her mother Denise and current husband Lynn Sharp. She moved to Arnprior and fell ill some years ago with multiple myeloma, a type of bone cancer. Five months ago she underwent a stem cell replacement therapy that initially offered her relief from the pain of her condition. But she suffered a relapse recently and fell ill. She died on June 14.

Angela Coughlan was coached by the author of this obituary.