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Bobby Leivers

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameRobert Hanford "Bobby"•Leivers
Used nameBobby•Leivers
Born27 December 1914 in Nottingham, Nottingham, England (GBR)
Died28 August 1964 in Chelsea, Greater London, England (GBR)
Measurements183 cm
AffiliationsLongton Swimming Club, Stoke-on-Trent (GBR)
NOC Great Britain

Biography

The son of a Nottingham butcher, Bobby Leivers moved to Stoke-on-Trent as a youngster and later ran two butcher’s shops in the area. A member of the Longton Swimming Club, he first entered the ASA Championships as a 15-year-old in 1930, and finished fourth in the 220 yards freestyle. A week later he won the Staffordshire 220 title and knocked six seconds of the championship record in the process.

Leivers went on to become one of the great distance swimmers in the 1930s, and the decade was dominated by two men, Leivers and Norman Wainwright, also from Stoke-on-Trent. They dominated the 440 and 880 ASA Championships in that period and between 1932-39 won seven of the eight 880 yards titles. In total, Leivers won nine ASA titles, but it was on the international scene that he enjoyed his greatest moments.

Leivers competed at two Olympics Games, Los Angeles in 1932 and Berlin in 1936. He competed in seven events and reached six finals, with a fifth place finish in the 1932 4x200 freestyle relay, with Joseph Whiteside, Mickey Ffrench-Williams and Reg Sutton, being his best result. He reached both the 400 and 1500 individual finals in 1936.

Having won the silver medal at the 1934 British Empire Games in the 4x200 free relay, Leivers went on to enjoy his most successful year in 1938 when, in addition to winning the National One Mile Championship, he won two golds at the British Empire Games in Sydney. He captured gold in the 1650 yards freestyle, and 4x220 relay with Freddie Dove, Ffrench-Williams and Wainwright. Leivers also won a silver in the 440 yards. Later in the season, Leivers went to the Empire Pool, Wembley, to compete in the European Championships and added a silver in the 1500 metres, and bronze in the 4x200 freestyle relay. Before the outbreak of World War II, Leivers gave up serious competitive swimming because of the pressure of running his businesses.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Bobby Leivers
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 3 h4 r1/3
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 5
1936 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Bobby Leivers
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 7
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 6
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 6

Special Notes