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Fred Unwin

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameFrederick Alfred "Fred"•Unwin
Used nameFred•Unwin
Other namesFreddie
Born5 October 1889 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England (GBR)
Died28 May 1965 in St. Pancras, Greater London, England (GBR)
AffiliationsSheffield Otters Swimming Club, Sheffield (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Fred Unwin, also known as Freddie, was a four-time ASA backstroke champion. The first three ASA titles (1903-05) were won by Willie Call of the Sheffield Otters Club, with team-mate Unwin occupying third place in the latter two years. However, Unwin became champion in 1906, and won it four years in succession, 1906-09. He enjoyed one more podium finish in 1910, when he finished second to Belgium’s Maurice Weckesser. Between 1907-10 Unwin reduced the British record three times.

Unwin turned professional before the outbreak of World War I and started coaching, lecturing, and giving exhibitions. After being demobilised from the Army in 1919, he was appointed coach to the Great Britain swimming squad for the 1920 Antwerpen Olympics, a post he also held at Paris four years later. In 1922 Unwin was appointed to one of the country’s top swimming posts as Bath Master and Instructor at the exclusive Bath Club in London, a post he still held at the outbreak of World War II. Amongst some of the famous people he coached was the Prince of Wales (later King George V), and in the weeks leading up to the annual Boat Race, the Cambridge crew regularly turned to Unwin for coaching. Unwin was also a qualified engineer and a past president of the Yorkshire Swimming Association.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) GBR Fred Unwin
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 2 h1 r1/3