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Swimming at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle

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Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Olympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: December 5, 1956
Date Finished: December 7, 1956

Gold: AUS Murray Rose
Silver: JPN Tsuyoshi Yamanaka
Bronze: USA George Breen
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Summary

The world record fell twice in 1956 before the Olympic Games began. Firstly George Breen broke the record at the US Olympic trials, then Murray Rose furthered lowered it at the Australian trials a few months later.

Rose and Tsuyoshi Yamanaka posted the 2nd and 3rd fastest times in history in the first qualifying heat only to see Breen respond by taking 6.6 seconds off the world record in heat 3.

Not unexpectedly the final quickly turned into a three-way battle between Rose, Breen and Yamanaka. At halfway the three men were still together until Rose began to pull away from the other two and into a lead of more than five metres. Breen, unable to match his heroics from the heats, slipped further back but Yamanaka made a final effort over the last two lengths of the pool to pull back on the leader. As the increasingly anxious home crowd roared their support for the Australian, Rose mustered a sprint that kept him clear of the Japanese swimmer. Breen was 16 seconds slower than in his heat but was still able to win the bronze medal.

Rose returned to collect silver in this event at the Rome Games but, despite being in world record breaking form in 1964, he was not selected for Tokyo when acting commitments meant that he was not able to return to Australia for the trials.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Murray Rose 17 Australia AUS Gold
2 Tsuyoshi Yamanaka 17 Japan JPN Silver
3 George Breen 21 United States USA Bronze
4 Murray Garretty Australia AUS
5 William Slater 16 Canada CAN
6 Jean Boiteux 23 France FRA
7 Yukiyoshi Aoki 22 Japan JPN
8 Gary Winram 20 Australia AUS
2 h3 r1/2 Sándor Záborszky 21 Hungary HUN
3 h2 r1/2 George Onekea 17 United States USA
3 h3 r1/2 Jacques Collignon France FRA
3 h4 r1/2 Seizaburo Yagi 19 Japan JPN
4 h1 r1/2 Guy Montserret 21 France FRA
4 h2 r1/2 Peter Duncan 21 South Africa RSA
4 h3 r1/2 Bana Sailani 19 Philippines PHI
4 h4 r1/2 Dave Radcliffe 22 United States USA
5 h1 r1/2 György Csordás 28 Hungary HUN
5 h2 r1/2 Raúl Martin 15 Cuba CUB
5 h3 r1/2 Gennady Androsov 17 Soviet Union URS
6 h3 r1/2 Hans-Joachim Reich 26 Germany GER