Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 22, 1988
Date Finished: September 22, 1988
[Heike Friedrich] (GDR) came into Seoul having won the last two European titles and was 1986 World Champion in the 400 free. The day before this final, she had won gold in the 200 free. But she had a big challenger in American [Janet Evans], who at the US Open in December 1987 had set the world record of 4:05.45. Evans also had a gold medal in Seoul, winning the 400 IM on the opening day of the meet. In the final, Evans led at 100 in 59.99, which was expected as Friedrich was known more for her finish. At 300 metres it was very close, Evans still leading, but only by 0.16 seconds. But she then blazed home in 1:00.45, negative splitting the race to shatter her world record with 4:03.85, and defeating Friedrich by almost two seconds on the final laps. Two days later, Evans would add a third individual gold medal, winning the 800 freestyle. Her world record from this event would stand for 18 years, until it was bettered by [Laure Manaudou] at the 2006 French Championships, and the mark would not be bettered at the Olympics until Britain's [Becky Adlington] won gold at the 2008 Olympics.