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Fred Holman

Full name: Frederick "Fred" Holman
Gender: Male
Height: 5-10 (178 cm)
Weight: 157 lbs (71 kg)
Born: March 1885 in Dawlish, Devon, Great Britain
Died: January 23, 1913 in Exeter, Devon, Great Britain
Affiliations: Dawlish Swimming Club, Dawlish (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Swimming

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


Fred Holman was an outstanding junior swimmer, winning age-group and junior races from the age of 11. As a senior he won numerous Devon county and Western counties championships but never succeeded in winning an ASA title. Holman only took up the breaststroke towards the end of his career but still succeeded in winning an Olympic gold medal and set the inaugural world record in the process.

On his return to Devon from his Olympic triumph in London he was given civic receptions in both Exeter and Dawlish, and accounted that his ambition was to become the chef in his own restaurant. He was one of 10 children of a master baker and confectioner, Tom Holman, who owned the Strand Café and Bakery. Fred Holman became a trained chef and worked in local restaurants, but his career was short-lived as Britain’s first Olympic breaststroke champion died at the early age of 29 as a result of complications following typhoid and pneumonia.

In 1988 Holman was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame - 80 years after winning his Olympic gold. Fred’s older brother Frank was a third class waiter on the Lusitania when it sank in 1915. He survived after spending around five hours in the water off the coast of Ireland. While in the water he rescued a small boy and swam with him on his back for a while but sadly the boy died and Frank had to let him slip into the water.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1908 Summer London Swimming Men's 200 metres Breaststroke Great Britain GBR 1 Gold

Men's 200 metres Breaststroke

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1908 Summer London Swimming Great Britain Final 1 WR 3:09.2
1908 Summer London Swimming Great Britain Semi-Finals Heat One 1 Q/OR 3:10.0
1908 Summer London Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat One 1 Q/OR 3:10.6
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