Teófilo Yldefonso

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameTeófilo E.•Yldefonso
Used nameTeófilo•Yldefonso
Nick/petnamesIlocano Shark
Born11 November 1902 in Piddig, Ilocos Norte (PHI)
Died19 June 1942 in Capas, Tarlac (PHI)
Measurements170 cm / 73 kg
NOC Philippines
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 2
Total 2


After winning bronze medals in the 200 m breaststroke at the Olympic Games of 1928 and 1932, Teófilo Yldefonso competed again in 1936 and placed seventh. He was the first Filipino to win an Olympic medal. Yldefonso beat the Japanese swimmers winning gold at four consecutive Far Eastern Games from 1923-34 and improved the breaststroke technique, which earned him the title “The Father of the Modern Breaststroke”. His swimming career, which started in his local Guisit River, spanned a 16-year period. Orphaned as a child, Yldefonso joined the 57th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts under the American command around 1920. Five years later he married and moved to Makati, a part of Manila, becoming a father of four.

In World War II, Yldefonso fought as a lieutenant against the Japanese and survived the Bataan Death March in 1942, one of the greatest war crimes by the Japanese. A short time later, he died in a concentration camp near Capas from the effects of an injury caused by shrapnel. His remains were never recovered. His daughter Norma won a silver medal in swimming at the Asian Games in 1954. In 2006, in his home town of Piddig in the northern part of the Philippines’ main island Luzon, a statue was unveiled in his honor. Yldefonso was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a pioneer swimmer in 2010.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) PHI Teófilo Yldefonso
100 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) DNS
200 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1932 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) PHI Teófilo Yldefonso
200 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1936 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) PHI Teófilo Yldefonso
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Philippines DNS
200 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 7

Olympic family relations

Special Notes