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Swimming at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Women's 400 metres Freestyle

Swimming at the 1948 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
Date Started: August 5, 1948
Date Finished: August 7, 1948

Gold: USA Ann Curtis
Silver: DEN Karen Margrethe Harup
Bronze: GBR Cathie Gibson
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The same protagonists from the 100m were favoured in the 400m freestyle although American Ann Curtis was considered stronger at this event than at the shorter distances. The shock of the heats was the collapse of the 100m gold medallist and hot favourite, Greta Andersen, who blacked out in the water just beyond the 200m mark and had to be rescued from the pool. Karen Margrethe Harup, also of Denmark, broke the Olympic record in the semi-finals and emerged as the greatest threat to an American victory. In the final Curtis held her effort until the final 100m then breezed past the opposition to record a clear victory. Harup narrowly held on to silver with a fast finishing Cathie Gibson gaining the host nation’s only aquatic medal of the 1948 games with the bronze

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Ann Curtis 22 United States USA Gold OR
2 Karen Margrethe Harup 23 Denmark DEN Silver
3 Cathie Gibson 17 Great Britain GBR Bronze
4 Fernande Caroen 27 Belgium BEL
5 Brenda Helser 24 United States USA
6 Piedade Coutinho-Tavares 28 Brazil BRA
7 Fritze Carstensen 23 Denmark DEN
8 Nancy Lees 22 United States USA
5 h1 r2/3 Patricia Nielsen 18 Great Britain GBR
5 h2 r2/3 Colette Thomas 19 France FRA
6 h1 r2/3 Magda Bruggemann Mexico MEX
6 h2 r2/3 Denise Spencer 18 Australia AUS
7 h1 r2/3 Vivian King 18 Canada CAN
7 h2 r2/3 Margaret Wellington 21 Great Britain GBR
8 h2 r2/3 Eileen Holt Argentina ARG
4 h1 r1/3 Gisela Thidholm 18 Sweden SWE
6 h1 r1/3 Kay McNamee 17 Canada CAN
7 h1 r1/3 Enriqueta Duarte 19 Argentina ARG
AC h3 r1/3 Greta Andersen 21 Denmark DEN DNF