David Sydney Billington, nickname Boy, is a British open water swimmer (born in Bacup, Lancashire in 1885, died at Bury in 1955) who won 10 national British titles between 1901 and 1905. He grew up swimming because his father ran the local baths.
Open Water Swimming
- At the age of 13, he set a time at Manchester for swimming the quarter-mile in 6 minutes 51 seconds.
- Over the next 10 years he set numerous swimming records.
- At one time, he held records at every distance from 100 yards to 13½ miles.
- By the age of 19 he had won nine English titles.
- He won the 5-mile ‘Lords and Commoners’ race on the River Thames, beating Australia’s Barney Kieran by five yards.
- He swam trudgeon.
- In 1905, he competed in a 7½-mile swim in the River Seine.
- He competed against professional swimmers and was unable to take part in an Olympic Games.
- He visited Australia in 1907 on a tour arranged by his Australian manager Charles Bastard at which time he was the world’s fastest over 500 meters.
- On 30 March 1907 in Manly, Australia, he swam with the Manly ASC at Fraser’s Baths, and attempted unsuccessfully to break his 500 yards record of 6 minutes 7.2 seconds.
- In 1926, he wrote How to Become a Good Swimmer.
- Between 1929 and 1933, he was a swimming coach at Hamilton, Ontario.