Andrew Charlton came to swimming prominence at age 14, when he defeated the Hawaiian Olympian Bill Harris, setting a record in the 880 freestyle at age 15, and defeating Australian legend Frank Beaurepaire, while using a trudgeon stroke. He thus earned the name “Boy”, which stuck with him throughout his career. After making a name for himself in Australia, Charlton upset Swedish star Arne Borg early in 1924, beating him three times in Sydney, while tying one world record and breaking another. This set the two up for exciting competition at the Paris Olympics. The 1,500 m ended in victory for Charlton, improving the world record by more than a minute. In the 400 m freestyle, Charlton had to let go of Borg and Johnny Weissmuller, taking the bronze.
Although an Australian hero, Charlton returned to school at Hawkesbury Agricultural College and worked his family’s land at Gunnedah, only returning to swimming in 1927. That year he defeated the Japanese Olympian Katsuo Takaishi while setting an 880 yard freestyle world record. Charlton returned for the 1928 Olympics, where he was defeated by Borg in the 1,500 m and by Alberto Zorilla in the 400 m, returning home with two silver medals. After yet another career break when he purchased property near Goulburn, Charlton made a comeback for the 1932 Games, but did not medal, at least in part due to a bout of rheumatic fever. He subsequently retired and became a sheep-raiser. He was later honored by induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1972), and, posthumously, by the renaming of the Sydney Domain Baths (where he had first beaten Borg) into the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Baths.