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Swimming at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games:

Men's 100 metres Backstroke

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Host City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Djurgården Bay, Stockholm
Date Started: July 9, 1912
Date Finished: July 13, 1912

Gold: USA Harry Hebner
Silver: GER Otto Fahr
Bronze: GER Paul Kellner

Summary

In an era when the United States did not contest an outdoor backstroke championship, Harry Hebner still dominated American backstroking. Over the indoor distance of 150 yards, he was national champion from 1910-1916. He rarely raced over 100 metres or the Imperial equivalent of 110 yards, but he held the American records for both 100 and 150 yards. The world record at the beginning of 1912 was held by Hungary’s András Baronyi, who had posted 1:18.8 at Budapest on 17 July 1911. But the world record was broken twice before the Stockholm Olympics, first by Germany’s Oscar Schiele with 1:18.4 at Brussels on 6 April, and then the mark was destroyed by Germany’s Otto Fahr, with 1:15.6 at Magdeburg on 29 April. Schiele was in Stockholm and competed in this event, but he was disqualified in heat one of round one.

Fahr’s world record was not threatened in any round. But the final came down to him and Hebner. After a false start, Hebner took an early lead and held off Fahr to win by slightly over one second. The Official Report noted, “Hebner, who kept his head well out of the water and was able to observe his opponents during the whole of the race, won without any difficulty.”

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Harry Hebner 20 United States USA Gold
2 Otto Fahr 19 Germany GER Silver
3 Paul Kellner 21 Germany GER Bronze
4 András Baronyi 19 Hungary HUN
5 Otto Gross 22 Germany GER
3 h2 r2/3 Bert Haresnape 31 Great Britain GBR
4 h1 r2/3 László Szentgróthy 20 Hungary HUN
4 h2 r2/3 Frank Sandon 21 Great Britain GBR
5 h1 r2/3 Erich Schultze 21 Germany GER
5 h2 r2/3 Gunnar Sundman 19 Sweden SWE
6 h1 r2/3 George Webster 26 Great Britain GBR
3 h1 r1/3 Åke Bergman 15 Sweden SWE
3 h2 r1/3 Hugo Lundevall 19 Sweden SWE
3 h3 r1/3 Harry Svendsen 17 Norway NOR
4 h4 r1/3 John Johnsen 20 Norway NOR
AC h1 r1/3 Oscar Schiele 23 Germany GER DQ
AC h2 r1/3 János Wenk 18 Hungary HUN DQ
AC h3 r1/3 Oscar Grégoire 35 Belgium BEL DQ