Teófilo Yldefonso

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Teófilo Yldefonso
Teófilo Yldefonso 1928.jpg
Yldefonso at 1928 Olympics
Personal information
Full name Teófilo E. Yldefonso
Nickname(s) "Ilocano Shark"
National team  Philippines
Born (1903-11-05)November 5, 1903
Piddig, Ilocos Norte, Philippine Islands
Died June 19, 1942(1942-06-19) (aged 38)
Capas, Tarlac, Philippines
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 73 kg (161 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Breaststroke

Teófilo E. Yldefonso (November 5, 1903 – June 19, 1942)[1][2][3] was a Filipino breaststroke swimmer. He is the first Filipino and Southeast Asian to win an Olympic medal, and the only Filipino to win multiple medals.


Born in Sitio Bayog, Bgy.4, Bimmanga, Piddig, Ilocos Norte, he began swimming at the Guisit River as a small boy. He started competing in 1921 and collected a total of 144 medals over the next 16 years.[4] He won two bronze medals in the 200 m breaststroke event, at the 1928 and 1932 Olympics, and placed 7th in 1936.

During World War II, Yldefonso fought against the Japanese in Bataan as part of the Philippine Scouts. He survived the Bataan Death March, but later died at the Capas Concentration Camp. His remains have never been recovered.[5]


He was named as part of the Hall of Fame by the International Swimming Federation in 2009. Yldefonso's unorthodox style in swimming which would be later known as the "Yldefonso Stroke" has been adapted by pint-sized swimmers, especially those from Asia, particularly the Japanese.[5]

Teófilo Yldefonso also had a daughter named Norma Yldefonso which would compete at the 2nd Asian Games held in Manila, Philippines and won a silver medal in the 100m butterfly event.


  1. ^ Teófilo Yldefonso. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ "Image of Monument to Teofilo Yldefonso 1903-1942". flickr.com. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME". ishof.org. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Lt.Teofilo Yldefonso’s monument unveiled. ilocostimes.com. February 19, 2006
  5. ^ a b Alinea, Eddie (8 June 2014). "Sports Heroes who displayed true heroism during the war". The Standard. Retrieved 5 March 2016.