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Swimming at the 1972 München Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres Individual Medley

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Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Hall, Olympic Park, München
Date Started: August 30, 1972
Date Finished: August 30, 1972

Gold: SWE Gunnar Larsson
Silver: USA Tim McKee
Bronze: HUN András Hargitay

Summary

The favorite was American Gary Hall, who had set the last four world records, including 4:30.81 set at the 1972 US Trials in Chicago in August. Sweden’s [Gunnar Larsson] had won both the 200 and 400 IM at the 1970 European Championships, but his times not approach Hall’s. In the final Hall led on the butterfly opener, his best stroke, trailed by Hungary’s András Hargitay, but he was almost three bodylengths behind. On the backstroke, Hall opened up further, leaving Hargitay a full three bodylengths in arrears, with Larsson half-a-lap behind, but Larsson’s best stroke was the breaststroke and it was Hall’s worst. Hall was tiring and American Tim McKee caught him at 275 metres, moving into the lead. Hall still led Larsson after 300 metres but he was visibly tiring and Larsson moved ahead of both McKee and Hall at 325 metres. The final was too close to call so the fans looked to the electric timing. Both Larsson and McKee had finished in 4:31.98, a seeming tie.

But the electric timer could measure to the 1/1000ths of a second and when that was done, Larsson had the gold medal – 4:31.981 to 4:31.983. After Munich, this would not be allowed again, as it was shown that this was less than the thickness of one coat of paint on the wall, and minute differences in the lanes could affect this result. All future international swimming races would be decided only to the 1/100th of a second, and if swimmers were tied at that margin, they were declared tied.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Gunnar Larsson 21 Sweden SWE Gold OR
2 Tim McKee 19 United States USA Silver OR
3 András Hargitay 16 Hungary HUN Bronze
4 Steve Furniss 19 United States USA
5 Gary Hall 21 United States USA
6 Bengt Gingsjö 20 Sweden SWE
7 Graham Windeatt 18 Australia AUS
8 Wolfram Sperling 19 East Germany GDR
2 h1 r1/2 Christian Lietzmann 16 East Germany GDR
2 h2 r1/2 John McConnochie 18 New Zealand NZL
2 h3 r1/2 Ricardo Marmolejo 18 Mexico MEX
3 h1 r1/2 Roger van Hamburg 18 Netherlands NED
3 h2 r1/2 Valentyn Partyka 20 Soviet Union URS
3 h3 r1/2 Bertram Türpe 20 East Germany GDR
3 h4 r1/2 Mikhail Sukharev 19 Soviet Union URS
4 h1 r1/2 José Luis Prado 15 Mexico MEX
4 h2 r1/2 David Brumwell 18 Canada CAN
4 h3 r1/2 Neil Martin 17 Australia AUS
4 h4 r1/2 HaJo Geisler 17 West Germany FRG
4 h5 r1/2 Jorge Delgado, Jr. 18 Ecuador ECU
5 h1 r1/2 Barry Prime 18 Great Britain GBR
5 h2 r1/2 Jiro Sasaki 16 Japan JPN
5 h3 r1/2 Csaba Sós 15 Hungary HUN
5 h4 r1/2 Mauro Calligaris 20 Italy ITA
5 h5 r1/2 Bruce Featherston 20 Australia AUS
6 h1 r1/2 Jairulla Jaitulla 18 Philippines PHI
6 h2 r1/2 Antônio Azevedo 17 Brazil BRA
6 h3 r1/2 Sverre Kile 19 Norway NOR
6 h4 r1/2 Mike Holthaus 22 West Germany FRG
6 h5 r1/2 Zbigniew Pacelt 21 Poland POL
7 h2 r1/2 Hsu Tung-Hsiung 17 Chinese Taipei TPE
7 h3 r1/2 Gudmunður Gíslason 31 Iceland ISL