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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres Individual Medley

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Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 20, 1988
Date Finished: September 21, 1988

Gold: HUN Tamás Darnyi
Silver: USA Dave Wharton
Bronze: ITA Stefano Battistelli


Hungarian [Tamás Darnyi] was the favorite, having been the best in the world in the IMs since 1985. His biggest competition was expected to come from American [David Wharton], who had broken the world record in August 1987, only to have Darnyi better that five days later at the European Championships. They were an interesting pair. Darnyi was legally blind in his left eye after an injury to it in a snowball fight as a teenager, while Wharton was born almost completely deaf.

In the final Wharton had a slight lead on the opening butterfly leg, but Darnyi then crushed the backstroke, outswimming Wharton by 3.38 seconds and opening up a 2½ second lead. Wharton could never recover, although he would hang on to win the silver medal. Darnyi maintained his lead, finishing in 4:14.75 for a world record, over 2½ seconds ahead of Wharton. The bronze went to Italy’s [Stefano Battistelli].

A few days later, Darnyi and Wharton were expected to meet again in the 200 IM, but Wharton swam poorly in prelims and did not qualify. Darnyi also won that gold medal, doubling in the IM, which he would repeat at Barcelona in 1992.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalB FinalRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Tamás Darnyi 21 Hungary HUN Gold WR
2 Dave Wharton 19 United States USA Silver
3 Stefano Battistelli 18 Italy ITA Bronze
4 József Szabó 19 Hungary HUN
5 Patrick Kühl 20 East Germany GDR
6 Jens-Peter Berndt 25 West Germany FRG
7 Luca Sacchi 20 Italy ITA
8 Peter Bermel 21 West Germany FRG
9 Jeff Kostoff 23 United States USA
10 Christophe Bordeau 20 France FRA
11 Robert Bruce 19 Australia AUS
12 Jon Kelly 22 Canada CAN
13 Mikhail Zubkov 20 Soviet Union URS
14 Rob Woodhouse 22 Australia AUS
15 Paul Brew 22 Great Britain GBR
16 Kharalambos Papanikolaou 19 Greece GRE
17 Yoshiyuki Mizumoto 19 Japan JPN
18 Laurent Journet 18 France FRA
19 Ondřej Bureš 21 Czechoslovakia TCH
20 Salvador Vassallo 20 Puerto Rico PUR
21 Javier Careaga 20 Mexico MEX
22 Rui Borges Borges 21 Portugal POR
23 Michael Meldrum 20 Canada CAN
24 Renato Ramalho 21 Brazil BRA
25 Takahiro Fujimoto 18 Japan JPN
26 Diogo Madeira 18 Portugal POR
27 Martín López-Zubero 19 Spain ESP
28 Lee Jae-Su 20 South Korea KOR
29 Jonathan Sakovich 18 Guam GUM
30 René Concepcion 19 Philippines PHI
31 Sultan Al-Otaibi 18 Kuwait KUW
32 Julian Bolling 22 Sri Lanka SRI
AC r1/2 John Davey 23 Great Britain GBR DQ
AC r1/2 Desmond Koh 15 Singapore SIN DQ