Frederick Holman (GBR)
Honor Pioneer Swimmer (1988)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1908 gold (200m breaststroke).
Frederick Holman won the 1908 Olympics in his home country of England. He won the 200 meter breaststroke in Olympic and world record time of 3:09.2 but had never previously won a national championship. The irony is that breaststroke was the dominant stroke of European swimming because of the fear of disease when putting your head in the water. Yet this Olympic breaststroke champ died five years after his Olympic victory from typhoid fever he developed while swimming in the draw-and-fill baths of Exeter. He grew up in Dawlish, one of ten sporting children in a town of 5000. His brother Frank, learning from Frederick’s great swimming skill, kept himself afloat two hours in the North Atlantic and was rescued from the sinking of the Lusitania. Frederick Holman is still a hero in South Devon as it’s first and only world record holder and Olympic gold medalist in the 1908 Games.