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Swimming at the 1972 München Summer Games:

Men's 200 metres Breaststroke

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Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Hall, Olympic Park, München
Date Started: September 2, 1972
Date Finished: September 2, 1972

Gold: USA John Hencken
Silver: GBR David Wilkie
Bronze: JPN Nobutaka Taguchi


Three days before this race, American [John Hencken] had won a bronze in the 100 breaststroke behind Japan’s [Nobutaka Taguchi]. Hencken had set the world record of 2:22.79 at the US Trials in Chicago in August. Not expected to challenge was Britain’s [David Wilkie], but he made the final, as Taguchi led the qualifying with 2:23.45. One surprise in the heats was the failure of [Brian Job] of the United States, former world record holder, to get through.

In the final Hencken led from the start, trailed by his teammate [Rick Colella] through 150 metres, although Hencken was well ahead. Hencken won easily, posting a world record of 2:21.55. He was over two seconds ahead of Wilkie at the finish, who came on strong for the silver medal, with Taguchi taking bronze, as Colella flagged badly on the final lap. Over the next few years, Hencken and Wilkie would challenge each other as the best breaststrokers in the world. At Montréal in 1976 the Munich result would be reversed with Wilkie winning, Hencken taking silver.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 John Hencken 18 United States USA Gold WR
2 David Wilkie 18 Great Britain GBR Silver
3 Nobutaka Taguchi 21 Japan JPN Bronze
4 Rick Colella 20 United States USA
5 Felipe Muñoz 21 Mexico MEX
6 Walter Kusch 18 West Germany FRG
7 Igor Cherdakov 16 Soviet Union URS
8 Klaus Katzur 29 East Germany GDR
2 h1 r1/2 Bill Mahony 22 Canada CAN
2 h4 r1/2 Vladimir Kosinsky 27 Soviet Union URS
2 h5 r1/2 Brian Job 20 United States USA
2 h6 r1/2 Nikolay Pankin 23 Soviet Union URS
3 h1 r1/2 Roger-Philippe Menu 24 France FRA
3 h2 r1/2 Pedro Balcells 18 Spain ESP
3 h3 r1/2 Steffen Kriechbaum 25 Austria AUT
3 h4 r1/2 Angel Chakarov 21 Bulgaria BUL
3 h5 r1/2 José Sylvio Fiolo 22 Brazil BRA
3 h6 r1/2 Paul Jarvie 19 Australia AUS
4 h1 r1/2 Guðjón Guðmundsson 20 Iceland ISL
4 h2 r1/2 Robert Stoddart 22 Canada CAN
4 h3 r1/2 Malcolm O'Connell 17 Great Britain GBR
4 h4 r1/2 Andreas Hellmann 20 West Germany FRG
4 h5 r1/2 Rainer Hradetzky 19 East Germany GDR
4 h6 r1/2 Mike Whitaker 20 Canada CAN
5 h1 r1/2 Sokhon Yi 21 Cambodia CAM
5 h2 r1/2 Cezary Śmiglak 19 Poland POL
5 h3 r1/2 Jean-Pierre Dubey 21 Switzerland SUI
5 h4 r1/2 Liam Ball 21 Ireland IRL
5 h5 r1/2 Amman Jalmaani 23 Philippines PHI
5 h6 r1/2 Rudi Vingerhoets 14 Belgium BEL
6 h1 r1/2 János Tóth 17 Hungary HUN
6 h2 r1/2 Morkal Faruk 21 Turkey TUR
6 h3 r1/2 Gustavo Salcedo 20 Mexico MEX
6 h4 r1/2 Nigel Johnson 19 Great Britain GBR
6 h5 r1/2 Michele Di Pietro 17 Italy ITA
6 h6 r1/2 Gregor Betz 23 West Germany FRG
7 h2 r1/2 Piero Ferracuti El Salvador ESA
7 h4 r1/2 Karl Christian Koch 20 Denmark DEN
7 h6 r1/2 Alfredo Hunger 17 Peru PER
8 h6 r1/2 Alejandro Cabrera El Salvador ESA
AC h3 r1/2 Osvaldo Boretto 20 Argentina ARG DQ