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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Women's 400 metres Freestyle

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Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 22, 1988
Date Finished: September 22, 1988

Gold: USA Janet Evans
Silver: GDR Heike Friedrich
Bronze: GDR Anke Möhring

Summary

Heike Friedrich (GDR) came into Seoul having won the last two European titles and was 1986 World Champion in the 400 free. The day before this final, she had won gold in the 200 free. But she had a big challenger in American Janet Evans, who at the US Open in December 1987 had set the world record of 4:05.45. Evans also had a gold medal in Seoul, winning the 400 IM on the opening day of the meet. In the final, Evans led at 100 in 59.99, which was expected as Friedrich was known more for her finish. At 300 metres it was very close, Evans still leading, but only by 0.16 seconds. But she then blazed home in 1:00.45, negative splitting the race to shatter her world record with 4:03.85, and defeating Friedrich by almost two seconds on the final laps. Two days later, Evans would add a third individual gold medal, winning the 800 freestyle. Her world record from this event would stand for 18 years, until it was bettered by Laure Manaudou at the 2006 French Championships, and the mark would not be bettered at the Olympics until Britain's Becky Adlington won gold at the 2008 Olympics.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Janet Evans 17 United States USA Gold WR
2 Heike Friedrich 18 East Germany GDR Silver
3 Anke Möhring 19 East Germany GDR Bronze
4 Tami Bruce 21 United States USA
5 Janelle Elford 18 Australia AUS
6 Isabelle Arnould 17 Belgium BEL
7 Stephanie Ortwig 15 West Germany FRG
8 Nataliya Trefilova 17 Soviet Union URS
9 Sheridan Burge-Lopez 18 Australia AUS
10 Noëmi Ildiko Lung 20 Romania ROU
11 Stela Marian Pura 17 Romania ROU
12 Antoaneta Strumenlieva 20 Bulgaria BUL
13 Patricia Noall 18 Canada CAN
14 Manuela Melchiorri 18 Italy ITA
15 Chikako Nakamori 21 Japan JPN
16 Cécile Prunier 19 France FRA
17 Irene Dalby 17 Norway NOR
18 Ruth Gilfillan 21 Great Britain GBR
19 Tomomi Hosoda 17 Japan JPN
20 Eva Mortensen 18 Denmark DEN
21 Yan Ming 18 China CHN
22 Alexandra Russ 18 West Germany FRG
23 Nurul Huda Ch' Su-Lin 16 Malaysia MAS
24 Patricia Amorim 19 Brazil BRA
25 Christelle Janssens 16 Belgium BEL
26 Pernille Jensen 15 Denmark DEN
27 June Croft 25 Great Britain GBR
28 Rita Garay 17 Puerto Rico PUR
29 Judit Csabai 15 Hungary HUN
30 Senda Gharbi 21 Tunisia TUN