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Swimming at the 1976 Montréal Summer Games:

Men's 200 metres Backstroke

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Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Pool, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 24, 1976
Date Finished: July 24, 1976

Gold: USA John Naber
Silver: USA Peter Rocca
Bronze: USA Dan Harrigan

Summary

John Naber was favored in this race, defeating Roland Matthes in the 100 backstroke five days earlier, and also holding the world record, bettering Matthews previous mark at the US Olympic trials in June at Long Beach. But in addition to the gold medal, the two-minute barrier, never bettered for the 200 back, also hung out there as a goal. Naber qualified fastest but with a somewhat slower time, saying later he had trouble getting motivated for his “11th or 12th swim” in Montréal. Not so for the final. Naber went out in 27.73 to lead by a full second over Peter Rocca, silver medalist in the 100 back, with the third American, Dan Harrigan stroke-for-stroke with Rocca. At 100 metres Naber led in 57.45, a time that would have placed him fifth in the 100 backstroke final. Only in the final lap did Rocca make any inroads on the lead, but Naber finished in 1:59.19 to win the gold medal by 1.36 seconds, and become the first swimmer under the magic two-minute barrier. Rocca and Harrigan completed the American sweep, with Australia’s Mark Tonelli, the 1974 Commonwealth Games champion in the 100 backstroke, placing fourth in the Commonwealth record of 2:03.17. This completed the Olympics for John Naber, who won five medals, four of them gold, in Montréal.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 John Naber 20 United States USA Gold WR
2 Peter Rocca 18 United States USA Silver
3 Dan Harrigan 20 United States USA Bronze
4 Mark Tonelli 19 Australia AUS
5 Mark Kerry 16 Australia AUS
6 Miloslav Roľko 15 Czechoslovakia TCH
7 Róbert Rudolf 19 Hungary HUN
8 Zoltán Verrasztó 20 Hungary HUN
2 h1 r1/2 Daryl Skilling 16 Canada CAN
2 h2 r1/2 Leif Ericsson 20 Sweden SWE
2 h3 r1/2 Jim Carter 19 Great Britain GBR
3 h1 r1/2 Igor Omelchenk'o 16 Soviet Union URS
3 h2 r1/2 Lutz Wanja 20 East Germany GDR
3 h3 r1/2 Steve Hardy 18 Canada CAN
3 h4 r1/2 Mike Scarth 17 Canada CAN
4 h1 r1/2 Santiago Esteva 24 Spain ESP
4 h2 r1/2 Reinhold Becker 17 West Germany FRG
4 h3 r1/2 Krasimir Stoykov 21 Bulgaria BUL
4 h4 r1/2 José Urueta 20 Mexico MEX
4 h5 r1/2 Rômulo Arantes Filho 19 Brazil BRA
5 h1 r1/2 Carlos Berrocal 19 Puerto Rico PUR
5 h2 r1/2 Ivan Mikolutsky 16 Soviet Union URS
5 h3 r1/2 Ignacio Álvarez 19 Mexico MEX
5 h4 r1/2 Predrag Miloš 21 Yugoslavia YUG
5 h5 r1/2 Conrado Porta 18 Argentina ARG
6 h1 r1/2 Ryszard Żugaj 19 Poland POL
6 h2 r1/2 Nenad Miloš 21 Yugoslavia YUG
6 h3 r1/2 Karim Ressang 20 Netherlands NED
6 h4 r1/2 Thomas Hofer 18 Switzerland SUI
6 h5 r1/2 Peter Lerpiniere 19 Great Britain GBR
7 h1 r1/2 António de Melo 16 Portugal POR
7 h2 r1/2 Chiang Jin Choon 19 Malaysia MAS
7 h5 r1/2 Gerardo Rosario 23 Philippines PHI