| Event type

200 metres Breaststroke, Women

Date26 – 29 July 1952
LocationHelsingin Uimastadion, Helsinki
Participants34 from 19 countries

World record holder Éva Novák headed a trio of Hungarians who would contend for Olympic glory. Novák and Éva Székely had been third and fourth respectively in London but were favoured to improve their finishing positions in Helsinki. All three Hungarians record times under the existing Olympic record in the preliminaries as did the Scottish swimmer, Elenor Gordon but the reigning European champion, Raymonda Vergauwen of Belguim, missed a place in the final. The final was a battle of contrasting styles; Székely was a butterfly swimmer whilst Novák favoured the orthodox breaststroke. It was the butterfly technique that won out, as Székely finished well ahead of Novák with a Hungarian sweep of the medals only thwarted by the finishing effort of Elenor Gordon, Gordon spotted her finish better than Klára Killermann. In sixth place was the Ukrainian Mariya Havrysh, the only Soviet swimming finalist of the 1952 Games.

Éva Székely later married triple gold medal winning water polo player Dezső Gyarmati. Their daughter Andrea Gyarmati herself won a brace of swimming medals at the 1972 Olympics and married Mihály Hesz, an Olympic canoeing champion.

1Éva SzékelyHUN2:55.1 (1 h4)2:54.0 (1 h2)2:51.7 (1)Gold
2Éva NovákHUN2:54.0 (1 h1)2:55.8 (1 h1)2:54.4 (2)Silver
3Elenor GordonGBR2:58.6 (1 h3)2:57.8 (2 h2)2:57.6 (3)Bronze
4Klára KillermannHUN2:59.1 (2 h3)2:56.5 (2 h1)2:57.6 (4)
5Jytte HansenDEN2:57.7 (1 h5)2:59.5 (4 h1)2:57.8 (5)
6Mariya GavrishURS3:01.6 (4 h5)2:58.6 (3 h1)2:58.9 (6)
7Ulla-Britt EklundSWE3:01.2 (3 h5)2:59.6 (4 h2)3:01.8 (7)
8Nel GarritsenNED2:59.4 (2 h5)2:59.5 (3 h2)3:02.1 (8)
9Lies BonnierNED3:00.6 (1 h2)3:00.3 (5 h1)
10Rika BruinsNED3:04.7 (3 h1)3:02.4 (6 h1)
11Raymonda VergauwenBEL3:02.8 (2 h4)3:02.6 (5 h2)
12Jean WrigleyGBR3:04.5 (3 h4)3:03.2 (6 h2)
13Ursula HappeGER3:02.7 (2 h1)3:03.8 (7 h2)
14Kazuko SakamotoJPN3:02.7 (3 h3)3:04.2 (7 h1)
15Nancy LyonsAUS3:04.4 (2 h2)3:05.6 (8 h1)
16Kaija MäkeläFIN3:04.7 (4 h4)3:06.2 (8 h2)
17Masayo AokiJPN3:05.6 (5 h5)
18Valerie HarrisGBR3:05.9 (3 h2)
19Odette LusienFRA3:06.7 (4 h3)
20Vera KostinaURS3:07.3 (4 h1)
21Kirsten Hedegaard JensenDEN3:07.5 (5 h4)
22Eileen Ward PetersenDEN3:09.3 (5 h3)
23Roza ZenziveyevaURS3:10.5 (4 h2)
24Ilse AlbertAUT3:12.5 (5 h1)
25Gail PetersUSA3:13.3 (6 h1)
26Irene StrongCAN3:13.5 (6 h4)
27Della SehornUSA3:13.7 (6 h5)
28Margrit KnabenhansSUI3:17.4 (7 h1)
29Judy CornellUSA3:17.7 (5 h2)
30Irene Anita KwokHKG3:19.2 (6 h2)
31Lilo KobiSUI3:22.0 (7 h5)
32Dolly NazirIND3:37.9 (7 h4)
33Arati SahaIND3:40.8 (6 h3)
DQAleksandra MrozównaPOL– (DQ h2)

Round One (26 July 1952 — 10:00)

Fastest 16 advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

13Éva NovákHUN2:54.0QOR
21Ursula HappeGER3:02.7Q
34Rika BruinsNED3:04.7q
45Vera KostinaURS3:07.3
56Ilse AlbertAUT3:12.5
62Gail PetersUSA3:13.3
77Margrit KnabenhansSUI3:17.4

Heat Two

12Lies BonnierNED3:00.6Q
26Nancy LyonsAUS3:04.4Q
33Valerie HarrisGBR3:05.91
44Roza ZenziveyevaURS3:10.5
51Judy CornellUSA3:17.7
65Irene Anita KwokHKG3:19.2
DQ7Aleksandra MrozównaPOL

Heat Three

15Elenor GordonGBR2:58.6Q
21Klára KillermannHUN2:59.1Q
36Kazuko SakamotoJPN3:02.7Q
44Odette LusienFRA3:06.7
52Eileen Ward PetersenDEN3:09.3
63Arati SahaIND3:40.8

Heat Four

15Éva SzékelyHUN2:55.1Q
27Raymonda VergauwenBEL3:02.8Q
33Jean WrigleyGBR3:04.5Q
44Kaija MäkeläFIN3:04.7Q
51Kirsten Hedegaard JensenDEN3:07.5
66Irene StrongCAN3:13.5
72Dolly NazirIND3:37.9

Heat Five

17Jytte HansenDEN2:57.7Q
26Nel GarritsenNED2:59.4Q
33Ulla-Britt EklundSWE3:01.2Q
42Mariya GavrishURS3:01.6Q
54Masayo AokiJPN3:05.6
65Della SehornUSA3:13.7
71Lilo KobiSUI3:22.0

Semi-Finals (27 July 1952 — 17:00)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Éva NovákHUN2:55.8Q
2Klára KillermannHUN2:56.5Q
3Mariya GavrishURS2:58.6Q
4Jytte HansenDEN2:59.5Q
5Lies BonnierNED3:00.3
6Rika BruinsNED3:02.4
7Kazuko SakamotoJPN3:04.2
8Nancy LyonsAUS3:05.6

Heat Two

1Éva SzékelyHUN2:54.0QOR
2Elenor GordonGBR2:57.8Q
3Nel GarritsenNED2:59.5Q
4Ulla-Britt EklundSWE2:59.6Q
5Raymonda VergauwenBEL3:02.6
6Jean WrigleyGBR3:03.2
7Ursula HappeGER3:03.8
8Kaija MäkeläFIN3:06.2

Final (29 July 1952 — 17:00)

1Éva SzékelyHUN2:51.7OR
2Éva NovákHUN2:54.4
3Elenor GordonGBR2:57.6
4Klára KillermannHUN2:57.6
5Jytte HansenDEN2:57.8
6Mariya GavrishURS2:58.9
7Ulla-Britt EklundSWE3:01.8
8Nel GarritsenNED3:02.1