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Swimming at the 1972 München Summer Games:

Women's 800 metres Freestyle

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Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Hall, Olympic Park, München
Date Started: September 2, 1972
Date Finished: September 3, 1972

Gold: USA Keena Rothhammer
Silver: AUS Shane Gould
Bronze: ITA Novella Calligaris


Although [Shane Gould] was came into 1972 as the world record holder at every freestyle distance for women, she was felt to be slightly more beatable at the longer distances. At the US Olympic Trials in August in Chicago [Jo Harshberger] crushed Gould’s world record for this distance when she recorded 8:53.83. In the final the early leader was [Novella Calligaris] of Italy, who had won silver in the 400 freestyle. She led through 400 metres, but at 500 American [Keena Rothhammer] pulled into the lead, just ahead of Calligaris and Gould. Rothhammer would not be headed, increasing the lead for the final six laps to win in world record time, 8:53.68. Gould managed to outswim Calligaris over the final laps and take silver, as the Italian had she could handle holding off American [Ann Simmons], who eventually placed fourth. Harshbarger disappointed, placing sixth in the final.

This ended Gould’s Olympics with three golds, one silver, and one bronze medal. It effectively ended her swimming career as she retired after the Australian Championships in February 1973, at only 16-years-old. At the 1973 World Championships, Calligaris would win this event in world record time with Harshbarger taking silver, while Rothhammer would win a gold in the 200 free and a silver in the 400 free.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Keena Rothhammer 15 United States USA Gold WR
2 Shane Gould 15 Australia AUS Silver
3 Novella Calligaris 17 Italy ITA Bronze
4 Ann Simmons 19 United States USA
5 Gudrun Wegner 17 East Germany GDR
6 Jo Harshbarger 15 United States USA
7 Hansje Bunschoten 14 Netherlands NED
8 Narelle Moras 16 Australia AUS
2 h1 r1/2 Andrea Eife 16 East Germany GDR
2 h5 r1/2 Karen Moras 18 Australia AUS
3 h1 r1/2 Barbara Schwarzfeldt 15 West Germany FRG
3 h2 r1/2 Uta Schütz 17 West Germany FRG
3 h3 r1/2 Roselina Angee 14 Colombia COL
3 h4 r1/2 Karin Tülling 17 East Germany GDR
3 h5 r1/2 Jaynie Parkhouse 16 New Zealand NZL
4 h1 r1/2 María Teresa Ramírez 18 Mexico MEX
4 h2 r1/2 Olga de Angulo 16 Colombia COL
4 h3 r1/2 June Green 13 Great Britain GBR
4 h4 r1/2 Federica Stabilini 14 Italy ITA
4 h5 r1/2 Karen LeGresley 21 Canada CAN
5 h1 r1/2 Françoise Monod 13 Switzerland SUI
5 h2 r1/2 Helga Wagner 16 West Germany FRG
5 h3 r1/2 Laura Vaca 19 Mexico MEX
5 h4 r1/2 Mary Beth Rondeau 15 Canada CAN
5 h5 r1/2 Brenda Holmes 14 Canada CAN
6 h1 r1/2 Hsu Yue-Yun 14 Chinese Taipei TPE
6 h2 r1/2 Olga Petrusyova 19 Soviet Union URS
6 h3 r1/2 Belinda Phillips 13 Jamaica JAM
6 h4 r1/2 Antonella Valentini 13 Italy ITA
6 h5 r1/2 Susan Jones 17 Great Britain GBR
7 h1 r1/2 Eleni Avlonitou 13 Greece GRE
7 h2 r1/2 Silvia Borgini 14 Argentina ARG
7 h3 r1/2 Avis Willington 16 Great Britain GBR
7 h4 r1/2 Patricia López 16 Argentina ARG
7 h5 r1/2 Kirsten Knudsen 19 Denmark DEN
8 h5 r1/2 Aisling O'Leary 15 Ireland IRL