Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Date Started: July 29, 1984
Date Finished: August 4, 1984
Participants: 494 (308 men and 185 women) from 67 countries
Youngest Participant: Zara Long (13 years, 271 days)
Oldest Participant: Jairulla Jaitulla (30 years, 244 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 4 medals
Most Medals (Country): United States (34 medals)
The Soviet-led Eastern Bloc boycott allowed the United States to dominate the 1984 swimming events, especially on the women’s side, with the absence of the East German (German Democratic Republic) women. On the men’s side, the biggest loss was not seeing Soviet distance star Vladimir Salnikov.
The swimming venue was specially built for the Los Angeles Olympics and was one of only two venues that had to be built from scratch for the 1984 Olympics, the other being the cycling velodrome. The Olympic Swim Stadium was built with donations from McDonald’s and after the Olympics was called the McDonald’s Olympic Swim Stadium, and became the home swim stadium for the University of Southern California (USC). The stadium was closed in 2013 and renovated, and was then renamed the Uytengsu Aquatics Center, after a USC alumnus. The 1984 swim stadium was an outdoor venue, which was the first time since 1960 that Olympic swimming was contested outdoors. After the Los Angeles Olympics this also occurred at Barcelona in 1992, but through 2012, all Olympic swimming competition has been outdoors (except for the long-distance swims added in 2008).
The programs were returned to their status of 1968 and 1972, with 15 men’s events and 14 women’s events. The 200 individual medley was restored for both genders, and the men had the 4x100 freestyle relay added back to the program.
One major change had occurred in the program. Because of the United States winning so many medals, often sweeping the medals in events, and the GDR women now doing the same, nations could no longer enter three swimmers in the individual events, but were now limited to only two in each individual event.
The United States won 21 of 29 events and 34 of 87 medals, easily leading both lists. On the men’s side they won 9 golds and 15 medals, while their women won 12 golds and 19 medals. Seven American swimmers won three gold medals, as follows – Nancy Hogshead, Mike Heath, Tracy Caulkins, Mary T. Meagher, Carrie Steinseifer, Rick Carey, and Rowdy Gaines. Three swimmers won four medals – Hogshead, Heath, and West Germany Michael Groß.