Horace Davenport

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Horace Davenport
Horace Davenport.png
Personal information
Full name Horace Davenport
Nationality British
Born 29 April 1850
Died 23 January 1925 (1925-01-24) (aged 74)
Height 5 ft 10.5 in (179 cm).
Weight 158 (1878)[1]
Sport Swimming

Horace Davenport (29 April 1850 - 23 January 1925) was an English swimmer, known for endurance swims. In 1881, he also swam the Niagara River below Niagara Falls.[2][3]

Davenport was born in London in 1850 to Cecilia and John Thistlewood Davenport. He swam at University College School, and also competed in rowing after leaving school. In 1874 he won the mile Amateur Championship swim, and successfully defended his title through 1879. His 1877 mile time of 29 minutes 25 seconds stood as a record for a number of years.[4] He also won the amateur long distance championship (a five to six mile race) in 1877, 1878, 1879.

In 1884 he swam a round trip from Southsea to Ryde in 5 hours and 25 minutes. He also served multiple times as captain of the Ilex swimming club. He became president of the Swimming Association of Great Britain (now the Amateur Swimming Association) in 1880, serving through 1883, and 1890 through 1894.[2][5][6]

Winners of the amateur One Mile Championship Swim of England from 1869 through 1880. Davenport won six consecutive races from 1874 through 1879.

He also competed in the plunge for distance and won competitions in that event in the 1870s and 1880s, including the 1884, 1885, and 1886 English Plunging Championships, and was also known for plunging feet first.[7][8][9]

Davenport was known for using a single-overarm stroke well-suited for long distance swims, as well as the side-stroke.

As of 2013, three trophies offered by the A.S.A. remain in the name of Davenport, including for the 400 metre men's freestyle, 1,500 metre men's freestyle, and 100 metre girl's breastroke.[6]


Davenport married Kathleen Henrietta Florence Pirie (1855-1935) in 1873, and they had five daughters and two sons.[10]


  1. ^ (6 December 1878). Swimming Champions: Horace Davenport of London, The Athletic World, p. 426-27
  2. ^ a b (23 April 1925). Famous Swimmer Dead: Horace Davenport Had Remarkable Sporting Record, Montreal Gazette
  3. ^ (23 January 1925). Veteran Swimmer Dies: Davenport, Who Swam Niagara, Succumbs In London, The New York Times
  4. ^ Watson, Alfred E.T., ed. The Year's Sport: A Review of British Sports and Pastimes for the Year 1885, p. 472 (1886)
  5. ^ History of the Amateur Swimming Association, sportcentric.com, Retrieved 29 July 2013
  6. ^ a b The ASA Handbook (2013)
  7. ^ Chemist & druggist, Volume 102, p. 156 ("In the 'seventies and 'eighties he held many championships, including one for a plunge of 67 ft. 4 in.")
  8. ^ Sinclair, Archibald and Henry, William. Swimming, p. 405 (1916 edition)
  9. ^ The Sportsman's year-book for 1880, p.104
  10. ^ Smallbon, Jo-Anne and Davenport, Michael R.C. The Davenport Descendants of Thomas Davenport (1714-1768) of Evington in Leicestershire, p. 16 (2011)