Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: July 20, 1996
The 200 metres freestyle for men was considered amongst the most open events on the 1996 schedule and a case could be made for each of 10 to win the Olympic gold. At the Barcelona Olympics New Zealand’s [Danyon Loader] had won the silver medal at 200 metres butterfly and was also known as a 400 metres freestyle swimmer. Historically the 200 freestyle was his third event but he won the 1995 Pan Pacific meet, also held in Atlanta, at the distance.
Although he was always up in contention, he trailed veteran [Anders Holmertz] in the early stages as the Swede led the Olympic final at the halfway stage for the third Games in succession. Just as at Seoul and Barcelona Holmertz faded over the second part of the race and Loader took over just prior to the 150 m mark. He then swam away from the field to win by just under half a second to become his country’s first ever Olympic swimming champion. Brazilian [Gustavo Borges] just pipped [Daniel Kowalski] of Australia for the silver medal.
The eighth and final qualifier for the final was [Paul Palmer] of Great Britain. Palmer had tied [Jani Sievinen] for the last qualifying place which necessitated a swim-off. Incredibly the swim-off also resulted in a tie. Sievinen withdrew from the second swim-off so Palmer progressed.