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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

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 23, 1988
Date Finished: September 23, 1988

Gold: GDR Uwe Daßler
Silver: AUS Duncan Armstrong
Bronze: POL Artur Wojdat


The Olympic record was 3:50.91, set by West German [Thomas Fahrner] in winning the B final in Los Angeles. The standard in Seoul was so high that to qualify for the final, one had to better that record, the biggest casualty being 1986 World Champion and 1987 European runner-up, West German [Rainer Henkel], who barely made the B final and elected not to contest that race. The high standard of qualifying set the stage for a dramatic final.

The current world record holder was Poland’s [Artur Wojdat], who trained in the USA and had swum 3:48.38 earlier in 1988 at the US Nationals. In the final the early leader was Sweden’s [Anders Holmertz] followed by American [Matt Cetlinski], the 1987 Pan Pacific champion. Cetlinski took the lead at 300 metres, followed by Wojdat and Holmertz, with East German [Uwe Daßler] in fourth, and Australian [Duncan Armstrong], already the winner of the 200 free in Seoul, moving up slightly, but still in seventh. Cetlinski continued to lead at 350 but he was dying, and Wojdat and Daßler moved ahead on the final lap. Armstrong, who swam the final 100 in 55.02, finished very quickly and moved up to the silver medal, passing Wojdat. But he could not catch Daßler, who finished in 55.55 for gold, as Cetlinski dropped off the podium to fourth.

Daßler finished in 3:46.95 to break Wojdat’s world record. But Wojdat also bettered it in third, with 3:47.34, as did Armstrong in second with 3:47.15, and it took a world record time just to get on the podium. Wojdat called it “The Race of the Century,” which was echoed by Terry Stoddard, his Mission Viejo coach, who said “Yes, definitely. It was the greatest race in history.”

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalB FinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Uwe Daßler 21 East Germany GDR Gold WR
2 Duncan Armstrong 20 Australia AUS Silver
3 Artur Wojdat 20 Poland POL Bronze
4 Matt Cetlinski 23 United States USA
5 Mariusz Podkościelny 20 Poland POL
6 Stefan Pfeiffer 22 West Germany FRG
7 Kevin Boyd 22 Great Britain GBR
8 Anders Holmertz 19 Sweden SWE
9 Jörg Hoffmann 18 East Germany GDR
10 Valter Kalaus 18 Hungary HUN
11 Turlough O'Hare 19 Canada CAN
12 Carlos Scanavino 24 Uruguay URU
13 Ian Brown 23 Australia AUS
14 Dan Jorgensen 20 United States USA
15 Salvador Vassallo 20 Puerto Rico PUR
16 Zoltán Szilágyi 21 Hungary HUN
17 Rainer Henkel 24 West Germany FRG
18 Giorgio Lamberti 19 Italy ITA
19 Roberto Gleria 19 Italy ITA
20 Darjan Petrič 24 Yugoslavia YUG
21 Henrik Jangvall 21 Sweden SWE
22 Daniel Serra 20 Spain ESP
23 Cristiano Michelena 17 Brazil BRA
24 Tony Day 23 Great Britain GBR
25 Alberto Bottini 21 Switzerland SUI
26 Gary Vandermeulen 23 Canada CAN
27 Aleksandr Bazhanov 23 Soviet Union URS
28 Igor Majcen 19 Yugoslavia YUG
29 Jean-Marie Arnould 22 Belgium BEL
30 Franck Iacono 22 France FRA
31 Claus Christensen 20 Denmark DEN
32 Yoshiyuki Mizumoto 19 Japan JPN
33 David Castro 24 Brazil BRA
34 Ignacio Escamilla 30 Mexico MEX
35 Carlos Romo 21 Mexico MEX
36 Jeffrey Ong 16 Malaysia MAS
37 Ragnar Guðmundsson 20 Iceland ISL
38 Shigeo Ogata 19 Japan JPN
39 Yang Gam 15 South Korea KOR
40 Wu Ming-Hsun 20 Chinese Taipei TPE
41 Jonathan Sakovich 18 Guam GUM
42 Gwon Sun-Geun 19 South Korea KOR
43 Richard Sam Bera 16 Indonesia INA
44 Desmond Koh 15 Singapore SIN
45 Arthur Li 16 Hong Kong HKG
46 Julian Bolling 22 Sri Lanka SRI
47 Bassam Al-Ansari United Arab Emirates UAE
48 Émile Lahoud 13 Lebanon LIB
49 Mohamed Bin Abid 19 United Arab Emirates UAE