1910: WORLD'S CHAMPION SWIMMER IN ABERDEEN. MR BATTERSBY INTERVIEWED.
After his marvellous performances, it is not surprising that the appearance of T. S. Battersby, Wigan, at the gala of the Aberdeen Amateurs' Swimming Club, which takes place in the Corporation Baths to-night, should be attracting more than ordinary attention. Mr Battersby, who does not lack the traditional modesty of most champions, was interviewed yesterday by a "Journal" representative, and gave a resume of his performances. Unlike others, he did not take to the water "just after he was able to walk", and was not until about six years ago that he began seriously to swim in the Wigan Baths. He had shaped well at some local galas, and his success prompted him to enter for the 400 metres race at Antwerp in 1906. In this he swam second, and, considering that several of the best swimmers in the world were competing, his was no mean performance. Returning home, he determined to enter for the English championships in the same year, and his success paved the way for greater achievements. He was third in the 500 yards, and third in the half-mile English championship, and second in the Northern Counties 1000 yards championship.
In 1907 he did not contest any of the championships, but contented himself with playing polo for Wigan - who in that year were runners-up in the English polo championship - and the exercise he thus received while playing the tireless position of half-back afforded him the admirable training which had a big say in his quarter-mile triumph in the succeeding year, when he covered the distance in the remarkable time of 5 mins. 26 2-5 secs. To him 1908 proved a year of successes, for with the truly great time of 3 mins. 31 2-5 secs, he annexed the world's 300 yards championship, and followed this up with the honour which is the aim of all champions - the world's mile championship. Not only did he win the championship, but his time of 24 min. 1 2-5 secs created a reoord which looks like standing. In the same year he was one of the swimmers who represented England at the Olympic Games, where he swam second in the 400 metres race, and, after a memorable tussle, was beaten by a yard by Henry Taylor in the 1500 metres race. It is Mr Battersbys intention to compete in all the championships from 220 yards to a mile this year. To-night, he will swim under handicap in the quarter mile race in which the best local men will be competing. He will have his feet tied together, while his opponents have their limbs free. He will also take part in a two-lengths race.
ABERDEEN'S SWIMMING FACILITIES. Continuing the conversation, Mr Battersby spoke highly of the pond at the Corporation Baths, where he had a trial swim in the morning. When he was informed that the pond was the only public one in Aberdeen, Mr Battersby's opinion in no way differed from that of the enthusiastic swimmers in the city, who consider that the facilities afforded to them are all too limited. On being told of the plight of the ladies, whose use of the pond is restricted one day per week, Mr Battersby was strongly of the opinion that they ought to agitate for a separate establishment for themselves, the expense of which would be easily justified in a city the size of Aberdeen. Learning that a movement was on foot to have an open-air pond constructed in the city, the champion expressed some surprise, as he considered that with the ideal beach at their command the lot of Aberdeen swimmers could not be improved in that respect, but that the addition of another closed-in establishment would prove a boon.
Asked his opinion as to why Scotland does not produce such fast swimmers as England, the champion considered that the explanation lay in the difference of stroke and method of learning. The majority of Scottish swimmers, he pointed out, commence with the breast stroke, which in no way makes for speed, and the slow movement of the limbs tends to bring the swimmers to adopt a timed movement, from which unconsciously they seldom vary when adopting other strokes. The "dog crawl" is, in his opinion, the stroke for beginners, its movement is more natural, while it has a strong relationship to all the other strokes. The favourite stroke in the north of England is the "trudgeon," and which in itself makes for speed, its effect has been accentuated by the adoption of a peculiar movement of the legs, which has been styled the "Lancashire kick."
Source : The Aberdeen Daily Journal Wednesday May 18th, 1910