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Swimming at the 1976 Montréal Summer Games:

Men's 200 metres Backstroke

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Events:

Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Pool, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 24, 1976
Date Finished: July 24, 1976

Gold: USA John Naber
Silver: USA Peter Rocca
Bronze: USA Dan Harrigan

Summary

[John Naber] was favored in this race, defeating [Roland Matthes] in the 100 backstroke five days earlier, and also holding the world record, bettering Matthews previous mark at the US Olympic trials in June at Long Beach. But in addition to the gold medal, the two-minute barrier, never bettered for the 200 back, also hung out there as a goal. Naber qualified fastest but with a somewhat slower time, saying later he had trouble getting motivated for his “11th or 12th swim” in Montréal. Not so for the final. Naber went out in 27.73 to lead by a full second over [Peter Rocca], silver medalist in the 100 back, with the third American, [Dan Harrigan] stroke-for-stroke with Rocca. At 100 metres Naber led in 57.45, a time that would have placed him fifth in the 100 backstroke final. Only in the final lap did Rocca make any inroads on the lead, but Naber finished in 1:59.19 to win the gold medal by 1.36 seconds, and become the first swimmer under the magic two-minute barrier. Rocca and Harrigan completed the American sweep, with Australia’s [Mark Tonelli], the 1974 Commonwealth Games champion in the 100 backstroke, placing fourth in the Commonwealth record of 2:03.17. This completed the Olympics for John Naber, who won five medals, four of them gold, in Montréal.

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