Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: July 29, 1984
Date Finished: July 29, 1984
Michael Groß had been European Swimmer of the Year in 1982-83, and would win that as well in 1984-86, and was the 1982 World Champion in this event. He also held the world record, setting that twice in 1983, and better it again in June 1984 with 1:47.55 in Munich. At 202 cm (6-7½), with a huge wingspan, he was dubbed “The Albatross” and was expected to win this event easily. He led the preliminary round with 1:48.03, but slowed dramatically in the final 100, and some wondered if perhaps he was not at his strongest. But that had simply been Groß saving himself for the final. American [Mike Heath] was close at 50 metres but that was it. Groß pulled away on each lap to win in 1:47.44, a new world record, and well ahead of Heath in second, with Groß’s teammate [Thomas Fahrner] taking bronze, despite a fast finish that almost caught Heath.