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Sydney Battersby

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 1
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameThomas Sydney "Syd"•Battersby
Used nameSydney•Battersby
Born18 November 1887 in Platt Bridge, Greater Manchester, England (GBR)
Died3 September 1974 in Sydney, New South Wales (AUS)
AffiliationsWigan SC, Wigan (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


An outstanding British freestyle swimmer, bricklayer Syd Battersby won ASA titles at every distance from 200 yards to one mile, and also won the Long Distance Championship on the River Thames. In total he won six ASA titles including the 200, 500, 880 yards and one mile, all in 1909. Battersby also won the 440 yards salt water title in 1908, and the long distance title in 1910. Additionally, he obtained 14 more podium finishes between 1906-12. He was also a good standard water polo player, and was a member of the Leigh Water Polo Club in Lancashire (now Greater Manchester).

Battersby was a prolific record breaker, and set 400 (5:48.8) and 1500 metres (23:42.8) Olympic records in 1908, when he won a bronze medal in the latter event. He added to his Olympic medal collection with a bronze in the 4x200 metres freestyle relay in 1912. Battersby set just one World (and European) record, when he swam 5:35.8 for the 400 metres at London on 21 September 1911. Unfortunately, the record stood for just seven months. He also set British records at 300 and 440 yards, and his mile record of 24:01.4 set at Southport on 7 August 1909, stood as a British and English native record for nearly 22 years, long after Battersby had emigrated to Australia in 1922, where he lived at Bondi Beach for a while.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Sydney Battersby
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 3 h1 r2/3
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1912 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Sydney Battersby
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 5 h1 r2/3
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 4 h2 r2/3
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 3 Bronze

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1908 Summer Olympics 13 July 1908 Swimming (Aquatics) 400 metres Freestyle, Men Round One, Heat One 5:48.8 1
1908 Summer Olympics 21 July 1908 Swimming (Aquatics) 1,500 metres Freestyle, Men Round One, Heat Four 23:42.8 1

Special Notes