Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: July 29, 1984
Date Finished: July 29, 1984
[Tracy Caulkins] had been the best all-around swimmer in the world in 1978-80, being named World Swimmer of the Year in 1978, after winning both IM races at the 1978 World Championships in world record times. But by 1984 she had been surpassed by the East Germans, notably [Petra Schneider], the 1980 Olympic champion in this event, the current world record holder, and the 1982 World Champion in both IMs. Without the East Germans in Los Angeles there was no competition for Caulkins. She won the gold by 15 metres, and over nine seconds, recording 4:39.24 â approaching Schneider, who had won in Moscow by over 10 seconds.
Trailing in second place here was Australian [Suzie Landells] who had barely qualified for the final, placing eighth by 1/100th of a second. In 1986 Landells won both IMs at the Commonwealth Games. Another surprise in Los Angeles was the bronze medalist, [Petra Zindler] of West Germany. Her best time in 1984 was only 4:52.38, but she qualified third fastest and matched that in the final, improving to 4:48.57.
At the Friendship Games, three weeks hence, this event was won by Soviet swimmer [Yelena Dendeberova] in 4:43.78, well off Caulkins' Olympic winning time, and trailed by East German [Kathleen Nord], who Caulkins considered her biggest rival in 1984, but who swam poorly to finish in 4:49.49.