Nancy Riach was a member of the Motherwell Amateur Swimming and Water Polo Club. She was described as the finest swimmer in the British Empire and excelled at all strokes. In 1945, she held 28 Scottish and British records. In 1946, she was the British Champion at the 100 yards, 220 yards and 440 yards freestyle distances. She contracted polio and died after one of her races at the European Swimming Championships in 1947 in Monte Carlo. She was 20-years-old.