IT WAS Ipswich's golden Olympic moment - with a silver lining.

Parochial sports fans across the nation paced nervously in front of television sets at 1pm yesterday as Leah Neale took to the starter's blocks in the Aussie women's 4x200m relay.

You would have been hard-pressed to find any fans more passionate than those hundreds of cheering kids who crowded around the big screen that was set up at Leah's old primary school at Silkstone.

Silkstone State School students cheer on former student Leah Neale as she leads the Australian Womens 200m freestyle relay team at the Rio Olympics.
Silkstone State School students cheer on former student Leah Neale as she leads the Australian Womens 200m freestyle relay team at the Rio Olympics. David Nielsen

There were roars of excitement as the Ipswich born and bred champion swimmer got her team off to a solid start.

Emma McKeown and Bronte Barratt then built on Leah's opening leg to put the Aussies in front, with only one leg left to swim.

Teenage sensation Tamsin Cook then entered the water and swam brilliantly, despite being slowly reined in by the American superstar Katie Ledecky.

It was good enough for a silver and drew a huge cheer from the staff and students at Leah's old stomping ground.

The list of Ipswich people gunning for Leah went right up to this state's top office.

Former St Mary's student, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, said she was immensely proud of the performance.

"I love seeing all Queenslanders do well, but I definitely feel extra pride watching a fellow ex-St Mary's student do so well on the international stage," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I watched the relay live and thought Leah did a great job leading the team out.

"All of Ipswich, and especially the St Mary's community, will be incredibly proud of her efforts. She's a great role model for other Ipswich kids, and I look forward to cheering her on at many Olympic Games to come."

Silkstone State School students cheer on former student Leah Neale as she leads the Australian Womens 200m freestyle relay team at the Rio Olympics.
Silkstone State School students cheer on former student Leah Neale as she leads the Australian Womens 200m freestyle relay team at the Rio Olympics. David Nielsen

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