Hometown: Palos Hills, Illinois
Past & Current Teams: 2011 Athletes Without Limits Global Games US Team Member, Oak Lawn, Orland Park, Stagg High School, Hickory Willow Swim Club, Saluki Swim Club, Mount Greenwood Local Elite Age Group Team
Coach(s): Kristen Cichocki, Tom Rieman and Barry Holman
Leslie is the highest ranked swimmer with disability in the US. She holds a number of National and Americas Region records and is a strong contender to be selected for the London 2012 Paralympic team in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Leslie competed in her first international meet at the INAS Global Games World Championships where she swam an aggressive nine race schedule. She made three finals, ranking 6th in two events and 8th in a third. She posted six personal best times. Leslie trains with a local elite age group team and will compete in IPC sanctioned meets and the US Paralympic swim trials to make the Paralympic Games Qualifying Standards in her events.
Leslie received her INAS/Paralympic eligibility confirmation on May 20, 2011 and the very next day began setting INAS Americas Regional records at the GTAC US Paralympic Meet. At that meet, she met the international qualification standards for 10 swimming events, earning her place on the Athletes Without Limits US Team to Liguria Italy for the Global Games World Championships.
In competition, Leslie is both calm and powerful. At a recent Paralympic meet she was the only female swimmer in the entire meet to complete a 200 Butterfly, earning her huge props from her teammates and the Paralympic swim community. Leslie has been swimming since she was four years old, When she is not in the pool — which was 4-6 days a week in preparation for the September Global Games — Leslie also enjoys putting her athleticism to work playing volleyball, basketball, bowling, golf, softball and cross country skiing and encouraging fellow Athletes Without Limits throughout the US on Facebook.
In her own words…
I enjoy working out daily. I never give up and take every opportunity seriously and try hard to achieve my goals. I like helping swimmers with special needs improve their skill level as a volunteer coach with Orland Park Special Olympic Swim Team. I graduated from Victor J.Andrew High School in May 2007 and go to Moraine Valley Community College. My major is culinary arts and baking, I am currently certified in Food Service Sanitation and want to be a chef some day.
Leslie’s London 2012 Blog
Leslie has been selected by INAS to write a monthly blog about her journey to make the London games.
Read Leslie’s Blog
- 2011 Global Games World Championships, Loano Italy
- 6th Place
- 6th Place
- 8th Place
- 2011 GTAC US Paralympic Disability Swim Meet, Cincinnati, Ohio
INAS America’s Swimming Records Achieved:
- 100 FREE 01.17.11 (previous record 1:17.27 USA)
- 200 FREE 02.52.56 (previous record 2:57.76 Venezuela)
- 50 BACK 00:41.96 (previous record 46.84 USA)
- 200 BACK 03:09.75 (previous record 3:14.76 Mexico)
- 100 FLY 01:34.89 (previous record 1:57.26 Brazil)
- Mount Greenwood Master Swim Team Record-holder in 100 butterfly.
- Oak Lawn Park District 2010 Athlete of the Year
- Illinois Special Olympics State Championships (2007-Present) Gold medals in 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 400 freestyle, 100 Individual medley and 4X100 freestyle relay.
The following individuals and organizations provided Leslie with private sponsorship to help offset costs for competing at the 2011 Global Games in Italy. Thank you for your support and to those who purchased candy bars from Leslie!
- Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett
- Mark Jastrzab of Swimmers Edge
- Dr. Anthony Tisoncik of Hickory Hills Dental
- Dr. James F Soltes of Soltes Orthodontics
- Edward Colins of State Farm Insurance
- Palos Hills Walgreens (Debbie Trojenk)
- James. T. Day O.D., F.A.A.O.
- The Faxel Family
- Morgan Chaffin
Check out this very nice piece by ABC 7 Chicago on swimmer Leslie Cichocki. Helping her progress over the last year is what Athletes Without Limits is all about.
October 10, 2011 Washington, DC – Six elite athletes with intellectual disability represented the United States at the INAS Global Games World Championships in Italy from September 24 – October 3. Nearly 700 athletes from 40 countries competed in swimming, athletics, tennis, basketball, indoor soccer, cycling, and table tennis. The Global Games are a major preparatory competition for the London 2012 Paralympic Games where for the first time since 2000 people with intellectual disability will be compete in swimming, table tennis, and athletics.
September 29, 2011 Loano, Italy — The competition for the team of US athletes at the 2011 INAS/IPC Global Games in Liguria Italy began today when swimmers Leslie Cichocki and Sarah Gilbert took to the water at Palasporte, the 50m outdoor competition pool in Loano, Italy.
Private sponsorships from friends and local businesses keep their Paralympic Dream alive as the two swimmers head to the 2011 INAS/IPC Global Games in Loano, Italy. Swimmers Leslie Cichocki and Sarah Gilbert, the highest ranked swimmers with intellectual disability in the US, spearheaded a local fundraising campaign to help offset their family’s out of pocket expenses for the 2011 Global Games in Italy. The Global Games is an important qualifier for the London 2012 Paralympics and the two represent the best chance for US swimmers to...
September 1, 2011 – Athletes Without Limits, a nonprofit dedicated to helping athletes with intellectual disability integrate and accelerate in sport, is proud to announce a strong US National team for the 2011 INAS Global Games. The Games are the world championship for athletes with intellectual disability and a key qualifier in Swimming, Track & Field for London 2012 Paralympic Games. Athletes Without Limits will be leading a team of six athletes to Liguria, Italy, for the prestigious international event that takes place every 4 years...
The GTAC Disability Swim meet provided an opportunity for three new Athletes Without Limits swimmers to compete together with physically disabled Paralympic swimmers while trying to achieve qualifying times for the 2011 Global Games World Championships.