A volunteer, a coach, a builder and a judge – in one capacity or another Leslie has touched the lives of thousands of artistic swimmers since she began her involvement back in 1965. She started out coaching a small group of girls in Hamilton where she was the aquatic director. “I loved that this was a sport where girls could excel,” she recalls. With some encouragement, she became affiliated with Synchro Ontario, now Ontario Artistic Swimming, where very shortly the team from Dalewood began to dominate.
It was Leslie’s commitment that took the “Dalewood Ducks” to success at every age group. Whether it was sewing headpieces herself, coaching at pool side, or driving athletes to and from competitions, she was dedicated to her teams. Described as a 2nd mom to many of her girls, after 10 years of successful coaching, Leslie turned her focus to judging. Leslie started to judge provincially in 1968. With hard work she became a national level judge in 1972 and officiated actively for 52 years. In 1987, she became an international judge and attained her FINA “A” rating in 1997. During this time, Leslie sat on numerous committees in Ontario – judges’ chair for 8 years, board of directors, technical chair, and a member of Ontario’s high-performance committee. For 10 years, she was a member on the national officials committee, of which her expertise was mainly focussed on training judges across Canada. She became well known for her use of video to train judges at the national and international level.
Highlights of Leslie’s Officiating Career Include:
2000 – Olympic Games, Sydney, Australia- Judge
2001 – FINA World Aquatic Championships – Head of Delegation & Technical Analyst
2004– Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame
2004– Olympic Qualification Meet, Athens, Greece – Judge
2005 – Junior World Championships , China, Head of Delegation
2006 – Synchro Canada Bridge Builder Award
2012 – Synchro Canada Lifetime Achievement Awards
2013 – Synchro Canada Distinguished Member Award
2015 – Aquatics Canada Hall of Fame
Being chosen to judge at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia was the pinnacle of her judging career. In 2019 the members of the CAS Board of Directors unanimously chose to recognize one of the true heroines of the sport with the unique honour of becoming the first Honorary Life Member of Canada Artistic Swimming. Leslie Taylor may represent almost a bygone era of the sport, yet her legacy will live on for many years. She put her athletes first, she made training and competing fun, and most of all, she encouraged and inspired them to see possibilities for their lives far beyond the pool. She was truly the role model of the inspirational, motivational competitive coach.
We are honoured to choose such a well deserving candidate as Leslie Taylor to be one of this years Inductees on the OAS Wall of Honour.
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