William Henry (swimmer)

William Henry (28 June 1859 – 20 March 1928), born Joseph Nawrocki, was an English competitive swimmer and lifesaver who represented Great Britain in international competition.[1][2]

William Henry
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Henry
National teamGreat Britain
Born(1859-06-28)28 June 1859
St Pancras, London, England
Died20 March 1928(1928-03-20) (aged 68)
St Pancras, London, England
StrokesFreestyle, water polo
ClubLondon Leander SC

He was of Polish ancestry, and changed his original Polish surname Nawrocki to the English "Henry". He died in the Pancras district of London at aged 68.[3] He was a co-founder of the Royal Life Saving Society. As a swimmer he won a number of national and European championships. In 1906, at 46, he became the oldest ever Olympic medal winner in swimming as a member of the British men's 4×250-metre relay team which won the bronze medal. He won a gold medal in the 1900 Summer Olympics for Water Polo.[1]

Henry is an International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee. He was the swimming instructor for the British Royal Family, using the swimming pool at the Bath Club, Dover Street.[1] He helped to formalise the rules of water polo.[4] With Archibald Sinclair (1866–1922), he wrote a book on swimming for the Badminton Library.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Our founder, William Henry". Commonwealth Drowning Prevention.
  2. ^ "William Henry". Olympedia. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  3. ^ England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index: William Henry; Jan-Feb-Mar quarter 1928; Age: 67; District: Pancras; Volume: 1b; Page: 79.
  4. ^ Henry, William (2013). Water Polo: A Brief History, Rules of the Game and Instructions on How to Play. Read Books Ltd.
  5. ^ Sinclair, Archibald; Henry, William (1916). Swimming. London: Longmans, Green & Co; 1st edition 1893; 4th edition 1903
  6. ^ Watkins, M. G. (5 August 1893). "Review of Swimming by A. Sinclair and W. Henry". The Academy. 44 (1109): 105–106.

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