Lina Woodard

Lina Woodard : Rhodesian Sports

(Zimbabwe/Southern Africa)

Rhodesian sports are mostly forgotten. I read an article by Bob Ford today. It reminded me that amazing talent has shone through Southern Africa despite the troubles, politics & drama of eras.

The following is a summary of Mr. Ford’s article. I encourage you to read his full report here If anything is inaccurate or wrong, please let me know?

Lina Woodard is an extraordinary talent. We celebrate her outstanding sporting achievements & highlight her dedication to coaching & developing others

Early Life

  • Raised & educated in Salisbury (now Harare)
  • Early passion for sports – mainly swimming & diving
  • From U13 – Lina Woodward represented her school, Mashonaland & Rhodesia



  • Rhodesia competed in Currie Cup competitions in South Africa. At 15, Woodard represented Rhodesia in the SA inter-provincial championships & was a member of the team that won the Ellis Brown Trophy 
  • Attended Teachers’ College in Bulawayo (Phys Ed) & while there, she won the South African Open Championships. Went on to do repeat this for the next five consecutive years.


Talent, hard work & a top class coach – Woodard  said of Ron Ward,  “He was way ahead of his time and a pioneer for diving in South Africa,” – proved to be a winning combination. 

Woodard was included in the Rhodesian swimming team that went to the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. Since UDI had been declared, the team were not allowed to compete but athletes were awarded full colours & gained exposure to world-class divers.

  • Woodard married in 1970, & started a family. She retired from active diving in 1973.
  • She continues (at time of writing) to coach when called on



  • In charge of South African diving as a coach & administrator (five years.)
  • Represented Africa at the International Governing Body of Diving (four years.)


Attended international events in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia,  Egypt and China – The pinnacle being the junior and senior world championships, the Commonwealth Games & the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. – she is quoted as saying. “This period was the absolute highlight of my life,” 

Dedicated to development coaching – Introduced novice diving to support development through the ranks with considerable success over the years.

A personal coaching achievement was reached when her daughter, Jane, competed in the Commonwealth Games and the world junior championships. Jane (now Holderness) retired from diving after winning a four-year diving scholarship at the University of Tennessee (USA) 

Woodard coached champions. Rob Costa (became a South African champion & won gold in his age group at the SA Masters) & Michaela Bouter, (became a South African champion & won a diving scholarship to the USA, graduating cum laude) were both coached by Woodward at one time. She remains involved in the coaching of these two divers at time of writing.

Woodard retired in 2014. A grandmother,  she currently enjoys gardening and playing bowls.

Credit / Sources:  Report by Bob Ford from Talk of the Town  Image is Public Domain


© - Respect copyright - You may link freely to this content
%d bloggers like this: