Yldefonso: Father of ‘Modern Breaststroke’
By Eddie Alinea
Thu, 04 Feb 2010
Did you know that the late Teofilo Yldefonso, the first Filipino Olympic medallist and the only back-to-back winner of the same color, is acknowledged as the father of the “modern breaststroke” practiced nowadays by topnotch swimmers worldwide?
The particular stroke, according to Philippine Amateur Swimming Association president Mark Joseph, invented by the former member of the Philippine Scouts from Piddig, Ilocos Norte, calls for short axis form that has leveled the playing field.
“The stroke is actually suited for short swimmers like Asians as has been proven in the recent Olympic Games where the likes of Japanese Kosuke Kitajima dominated by winning a pair of gold medals in the last Beiing Olympic Games, in addition to another pair in Athens,” Joseph told this writer in a text message after reading the Manila Times article about Yldefonso’s making it to the International Swimming Hall Of Fame.
“It’s really an honor, not only to Yldefonso, but the entire Filipino nation as well that a Filipino Olympian has been elected to the International Swimming Hall Of Fame, a first for the Philippines and the Filipino race,” Joseph, a former national swimmer himself, said.
“Similarly, we in the Philippine swimming circle are very proud that Yldefonso’s invention has been adopted by swimmers all over the world and earned for him the international swimming recognition,” he averred.
The Filipino three-time Olympian will accorded the distinction not only for winning back-to-back bronze medals in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, but likewise, for his pioneering efforts in changing the course of competitions in the breaststroke event.
Yldefonso will be such honored by the FINA (International Swimming Federation)-sanctioned award-bestowing body during the International Swimming Hall Of Fame Honoree Festival, a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the 2010 Hall of Fame Class set May 6-9 in the magnificent Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
The 2010 Enshrinement, according to Bob Duenkel, ISHOF’s staff liaison to the selection committee, will be held in connection with the organization’s 46th year of honoring the greatest names in the history of the sports of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo.
“With honorees from the USA, Australia, Germany, Russia, Hungary, the Philippines and Romania, the Class of 2010 is as impressive and as internationally diverse as any in the history of the ISHOF,” Duenkel said. The selection committee is made up of over 150 international aquatic experts.
The Festival includes a number of special public events highlighted by the Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday evening, May 8. Other major public events include the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix (all day, May 6 – May 9), the Hall of Fame open water swim (Saturday morning, May 8) and the Paragon Awards (Friday evening, May 7).
Members of the Class of 2010 who will be inducted include Honor Swimmers Brooke Bennett of the United Strates, Petria Thomas of Australia and Franziska Van Almsick of Germany; Honor Synchronized Swimmer Maria Kisseleva of Russia; Honor Open Water Swimmer, Paul Asmuth of the U.S.: Honor Swimming Coaches, Murray Stephens (USA) and Tamas Szechy (Hungary); Honor Pioneer Diver, Larry Griswold (USA); Honor Pioneer Swimmer, Teofilo Yldefonso (Philippines); and, Honor Contributor, Cornel Marculescu (Romania).
The ISHOF, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.
It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic museum and shrine dedicated to the history, memory, and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world.
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