Women's Athletics


From the earliest “play days” to intercollegiate championships, women's athletics at Western has a history that is over 100 years in the making. This exhibit examines the history of over twenty sports at Western. Read about the perseverance and dedication of several generations of athletes, coaches and administrators who built these competitive sports programs from the ground up. 


Luvneet Rana, Terran Fader, Kira Westby



When did women first begin to play sports for Western? What was the first team created? How have women's athletics developed over the last 100 years?

Welcome to a history of women's athletics at Western. Click here to begin.

Women's Athletics - Competition and Administration

A look at women's competitive leagues and administrative bodies including the Women's Athletic Committee and the Women's Athletic Alumnae.

Aquatic Sports

Aquatic sports at Western were comprised of swimming, diving and synchronized swimming.  In the early years finding swimming facilities was a problem until 1950 when Thames Hall provided both men’s and women’s teams with a place to swim. Western women’s aquatic teams have won a number of provincial and national level awards.

For a history of men's swimming, click here.


Archery proved a popular sport for women in the twentieth century from the 1930s when both the club and league play began until the 1980s when it was dropped as a league sport. 


With roots that stretch back to 1902, women's basketball at Western has a long history of competitive success, particularly between the 1950s and 1970s.

For a history of men's basketball, click here.

One-on-One Competition: Individual Sports

Women's individual sports such as golf, fencing and gymnastics also found a place at Western. While these began as clubs or intially held invitational status, they evolved into sports where Western women found success.

Click here to read about the history of men's golf, fencing and gymnastics

Playing Together: Team Sports

Many women's team sports at Western developed out of the intramural leagues and inter-Western competitions of the early 1920s-50s. Due to the dedication of players and coaches, several successful intercollegiate programs were later developed in  soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, rowing and rugby. While some sports such as bowling and softball are under-represented in the documentary record, images of women engaging in these activities demonstrate the diversity of participation in athletics at Western throughout the school’s history.

Click here to read about men's rowing, rugby, and soccer.

Profiles of Coaches

Coaches are mentors who provide direction, training expertise, and support. Coaches of women's teams were often not only responsible for encouraging their athletes, but also for encouraging continued support for the athletics programs in general. The five individuals profiled within this section where chosen to represent the generations of dedicated coaching and teaching staff that contributed to the growth of women's athletics at Western.

Racquet Sports

Tennis and badminton were first introduced at recreational and intramural sports day events between 1910 and 1930, and later developed into successful intercollegiate programs. The later addition of squash as an intercollegiate sport in the 1980s expanded upon this tradition.

Click here to read about men's tennis, badminton and squash.

Track and Field and Cross Country

Track and field and cross country have both witnessed successful female involvement since they became official sports in the 1970s.  In the next few decades the women of both sports won championships and proved themselves to be top competitors.

Click here to read about men's track and field and cross country


Volleyball was a keystone in women’s athletics at Western from the 1950s to the 1970s.  From 1953 to 1966, the Western women’s volleyball team was a driving force in the sport, winning thirteen consecutive intercollegiate titles, and continued on to win both provincial and national titles in the 1970s.

For a history of men's volleyball click here.

Winter Sports

Women participated in winter sports in numerous ways since they began with clubs and ice hockey in the 1920s and 1930s.  Involvement was most obvious beginning in the 1960s however, when figure skating was introduced and skiing and curling became competitive.

Click here to read about men's hockey, nordic skiing and curling.


Women's wrestling at Western started in 1994 when a group of female students with a keen interest in the sport approached Coach Ray Takahashi. Since then, the women's wrestling division has evolved to become an important women's varsity sport at Western and the program has produced provincial and national champions.

Click here to learn more about men's wrestling.