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Swimming at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

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Host City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Djurgården Bay, Stockholm
Date Started: July 11, 1912
Date Finished: July 14, 1912

Gold: CAN George Hodgson
Silver: GBR Jack Hatfield
Bronze: ANZ Harold Hardwick

Summary

The world record over 440 yards was held by Australia’s [Frank Beaurepaire], who had won the silver medal in this event at London in 1908. Beaurepaire competed at the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games as well, but he did not compete in Stockholm as he was declared a professional in 1911 for having lectured on swimming and lifesaving. Australia’s best hope in this event was [Harold Hardwick], who had won the 1911 Amateur Swimming Association (ASA - Great Britain) title over 440 yards. Hardwick later won the Australian professional heavyweight boxing champion in 1915.

But the victory went to Canada’s [George Hodgson], who had won the 1,500 metres only four days earlier. Hodgson had come to prominence in 1910 when he won every race he entered at the Canadian Championships. In 1911 he won the mile race at the Festival of the Empire Games in London (GBR), entering McGill University (Montreal) upon his return. In 1912, he again swept his events at the Canadian Championships, while representing the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA). With the outbreak of World War I, Hodgson travelled to England where he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF). During his military career, he won the AFC and the London Board of Trade Silver Medal for rescues made at sea. Upon his return to Canada, he resumed his swimming career, and competed at the 1920 Olympics, but in the 400 and 1,500 metre freestyle races at Antwerp, he failed to make the final. Second-place finisher [John Hatfield] would later win the ASA title in 1912 and 1913.