Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Pool, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 25, 1976
Date Finished: July 25, 1976
Since his Munich bronze medal, Hungary’s [András Hargitay] had been the world’s IM swimmer, winning both the 200 and 400 at the 1975 World Championships, and setting the 400 IM world record in Vienna in 1974 with 4:28.89. That record was broken in April 1976 by his countryman, [Zoltán Verraszto], but he was not in Montréal. The US Trials were won in June by [Rod Strachan], who was also NCAA Champion in 1976. Hargitay and Strachan were expected to be challenged by [Tim McKee], silver medalist in this event in 1972. The opening butterfly leg of the final was led by the third American, [Steve Furniss], but Strachan then opened a two-second lead on his strongest leg, the backstroke. Strachan later noted, “I knew I had the weakest breaststroke out there, so I felt I had to have a lead at the end of the backstroke.” And on the third leg, the breaststroke, McKee took back the lead, just over ½-second ahead of Strachan, only to see Strachan race home in the freestyle 100 in under a minute and claim the gold medal in world record time, 4:32.68. McKee settled for a second consecutive silver, while Soviet [Andrey Smirnov] surprised a tiring Hargitay to win bronze.