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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's 100 metres Backstroke

Swimming at the 1988 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 24, 1988
Date Finished: September 24, 1988

Gold: JPN Daichi Suzuki
Silver: USA Dave Berkoff
Bronze: URS Igor Polyansky


The world record had been broken five times already in 1988, the first three by Soviet [Igor Polyansky], and then twice by American [David Berkoff] at the US Olympic Trials. Polyansky was the 1986 World Champion in both backstroke events, but Berkoff had pioneered a new technique. He swam as far as he could underwater after the push-off, often not emerging on top of the water until the 35-40 metre mark. This usually gave him a big lead at the turn, and it was so advantageous that the other swimmers had to adopt the technique, although Berkoff usually still led through the first 40. Berkoff used it in Seoul to break the world record in the preliminaries, recording 54.51.

But in the Seoul final, Berkoff used the technique but only led Japan’s [Daichi Suzuki] by about a body length at the turn. That was less than expected and it was not enough, as Suzuki came home faster to win the gold medal. Berkoff won silver, barely holding off Polyansky. In fifth place was Canada’s [Mark Tewksbury], the 1991 Pan Pacific Champion, who never adapted well to the new underwater technique. He would not need it long. As soon as the Seoul Olympics ended, Berkoff’s underwater start was banned, with the new rule requiring that backstrokers surface and begin stroking on top of the water by 10 metres. This was later changed to 15 metres.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalB FinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Daichi Suzuki 21 Japan JPN Gold
2 Dave Berkoff 21 United States USA Silver
3 Igor Polyansky 21 Soviet Union URS Bronze
4 Sergey Zabolotnov 25 Soviet Union URS
5 Mark Tewksbury 20 Canada CAN
6 Frank Baltrusch 24 East Germany GDR
7 Frank Hoffmeister 22 West Germany FRG
8 Sean Murphy 24 Canada CAN
9 Dirk Richter 24 East Germany GDR
10 Franck Schott 18 France FRA
11 Jay Mortenson 21 United States USA
12 Shigemori Maruyama 21 Japan JPN
13 Georgi Mikhalev 20 Bulgaria BUL
14 David Lim 22 Singapore SIN
15 Manuel Guzmán 18 Puerto Rico PUR
16 Eðvarð Þór Eðvarðsson 21 Iceland ISL
17 Jens-Peter Berndt 25 West Germany FRG QC
18 Lin Laijiu 20 China CHN
19 Paul Kingsman 21 New Zealand NZL
20 Rogério Romero 18 Brazil BRA
21 Lars Sørensen 20 Denmark DEN
22 Neil Harper 23 Great Britain GBR
23 Martín López-Zubero 19 Spain ESP
24 Patrick Ferland 23 Switzerland SUI
25 Neil Cochran 23 Great Britain GBR
26 Alejandro Alvizuri 20 Peru PER
27 Carl Wilson 21 Australia AUS
28 Tamás Deutsch 18 Hungary HUN
29 Stephen Cullen 17 Ireland IRL
30 Pavel Vokoun 18 Czechoslovakia TCH
31 Renaud Boucher 24 France FRA
32 Simon Upton 19 Australia AUS
33 Ernesto Vela 19 Mexico MEX
34 Ilias Malamas 22 Greece GRE
35 Huang Guoxiong 17 China CHN
36 Richard Gheel 19 Ireland IRL
37 Valerio Giambalvo 20 Italy ITA
38 Wladimir Ribeiro 21 Brazil BRA
39 Amin Amer 22 Egypt EGY
40 Park Dong-Pil 20 South Korea KOR
41 Patrick Sagisi 17 Guam GUM
42T Horst Niehaus 20 Costa Rica CRC
42T Yip Hor Man 18 Hong Kong HKG
44 Brett Halford 17 Zimbabwe ZIM
45 Eric Greenwood 21 Costa Rica CRC
46 Pablo Barahona 18 Honduras HON
47 Bruno N'Diaye 19 Senegal SEN
48 Filippo Piva 21 San Marino SMR
49 Mohamed Abdullah United Arab Emirates UAE
50 Rami Kantari 25 Lebanon LIB
51 Mohamed Bin Abid 19 United Arab Emirates UAE
52 Yul Mark Du Pont 17 Swaziland SWZ