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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.

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