Teofilo Yldefonso (Swimming)

teofilo yldefonso
Teofilo Yldefonso (Swimming) | @psc_gov (Philippine Sports Commission)

Teofilo Yldefonso (Swimming)

Teofilo Yldefonso is the 1st Hall of Fame Awards Enshrinee.

  • 1928 Amsterdam Olympics bronze medalist – 200m breaststroke
  • 1932 Los Angeles Olympics bronze medalist – 200m breaststroke
  • 1923 Japan Far Eastern Games gold medalist – 200m breaststroke
  • 1927 Shanghai Far Eastern Games gold medalist – 200m breaststroke
  • 1930 Tokyo Far Eastern Games gold medalist – 200m breaststroke
  • 1934 Manila Far Eastern Games gold medalist – 200m breaststroke
  • 2010 International Swimming Federation (FINA) Hall of Fame

Born on November 3, 1903, Teofilo Yldefonso started out his young life in Piddig, Ilocos Norte, and would always be found swimming near Guisit River.

Training without the supervision of a coach, the self-taught swimmer modernized the breaststroke technique by bringing the stroke more to the surface of the water rather than under the water.

Yldefonso, in his unorthodox style, became the star of his time to his Olympic titles. He became the first-ever Filipino to win a medal in the Games in the 1928 Amsterdam edition with a bronze in the 200m breaststroke.

Ilocano Shark, as he was referred to, would later return in the historic 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and won another bronze medal in the 200m – the third of the winning trio in the Games alongside Simeon Toribio of athletics and Jose Villanueva of boxing.

This second bronze medal wins established Teofilo as the only Filipino to repeat his own history to date.

He also reigned over the quadrennial Far Eastern Games winning four consecutive gold medal finishes from 1923, 1927, 1930, and 1934, and five times more between 1929 and 1939 in the Philippines versus Formosa Dual Meets.

As a part of the 57th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts, he used the available make-shift pools to train and went on to represent the country for the third time in the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he placed seventh.

Yldefonso had to endure the Death March as he stood with Filipino and American soldiers in 1942 in the Fall of Bataan. His determination shines through even more with his loyalty and love of country until his last breath.

In 2010, Yldefonso was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISOFH).

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