OLYMPIC swimming star Faith Leech has been remembered as a big achiever with a generous spirit who lived life to the full.
About 150 people, including swimming legends Dawn Fraser and Sandra Morgan, attended a public service at St Andrew's Uniting Church in Myers Street on Wednesday afternoon.
Ms Leech, Bendigo's only female gold medalist, passed away last month aged 72.
Fraser and Morgan placed an Olympic Flag under the flowers on the coffin before the start of the service.
Fraser made a tribute to Ms Leech, describing her as 'a great athlete, a wonderful woman and a very, very dear friend'.
She spoke about Ms Leech's early history - growing up in Bendigo, discovering her talent for swimming and her path to Olympic glory.
She described how Ms Leech was a very delicate child "with an aversion to eating in her early days".
Fraser said Ms Leech had a double curvature of the spine and took up swimming to help the condition.
She was just 13 when she won the Australian 110 yard freestyle title in 1955 before being selected in the Australian team for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
Fraser reminisced about time the pair had spent living in the Olympic Village.
"I can remember one day when Faith went in to have a shower," she said.
"She lit the fire for the gas heater for the shower, not turning the water on and the bottom blew out of the heater.
"Our house was the craziest, that was fun and games."
Fraser broke down during her tribute.
Very Reverend John Roundhill read a tribute on behalf of Ms Leech's first husband Mitch Tuohy .
He shared story about how they first meet at a water skiing weekend at Lake Eppalock.
"He had no idea who she was and challenged her to beat him to swim out to his boat," Very Reverend Roundhill said.
"Later someone was kind enough to explain to him his defeat by saying he had just been thrashed by the 'flying fish', an Olympic swimmer."
Although the pair separated and went their separate ways they remained friends for more than 50 years.
"I feel lucky to have loved such a stunningly beautiful woman and to bring our two boys up ... may Faith now rest in peace knowing the joy she has bought to so many," Very Reverend Roundhill read on behalf of Mr Tuohy.
Not long after her Melbourne Olympic Games' glory Ms Leech retired from swimming on doctor's advice, did a brief stint modelling in Melbourne before returning to Bendigo.
She worked at the family jewellery store in Hargreaves Street, eventually became a school teacher and had two children, Adam and Troy.
Ms Leech taught disabled and paraplegic people to swim and, after her own battle with throat cancer, became a Cancer Council volunteer.