| Event type

4 x 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men

Date30 July 1984
LocationOlympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Participants62 from 14 countries

The world record had been set in August 1983 by the West German team, and it was expected to be a very close final between the FRG and United States. Nobody could really envision how close, although Sports Illustrated’s Craig Neff did call it, predicting in the Olympic Preview issue, “The West Germans will likely lose their world record and the gold medal to the U.S. – but just barely.” That record went in the heats as the US B team came home in 7:18.87 for a world record to qualify first.

US coach Don Gambril made the choice to lead off with America’s best, Mike Heath, and make the Germans catch up, as the German anchor would certainly be Michael Groß, probably the top male freestyler in Los Angeles. On the first leg Heath went ahead of Thomas Fahrner, 1:48.67 to 1:49.83. On the next leg David Larson extended the lead to 2.87 seconds at 300 metres, but he had gone out too fast, and Dirk Korthals closed so that the US lead was only 9/10ths of a second by the exchange. The third US swimmer, Jeff Float, also went out quickly and had 3 seconds on the Germans at 500 metres, but Alexander Schowtka reeled in Float on the second 100, with the margin 1.56 seconds as the anchor swimmers started their work.

Groß anchored Germany, as expected, and he faced off against American Bruce Hayes. At the first turn of the anchor, Groß had caught up, but Gambril later noted that “Groß paid too much to catch Bruce that early.” For the next 100 they swam together, Groß unable to shake Hayes, until Germany took a slight lead at the final turn. With 25 metres to go, Hayes had made that up and they swam together to the wall, nobody really knowing who had won, until the scoreboard showed that it was the United States – 7:15.69 to 7:15.73 – the closest relay in Olympic swimming history. The time was a world record by over three seconds.

Groß was magnanimous in defeat, stating, “I simply did not have any more to give. We never expected to swim so fast in the relay, so we cannot be too disappointed.” His final leg of 1:46.89 was the fastest 200 split ever recorded at that time.

1United StatesUSA7:18.87 (1 h1)7:15.69 (1)Gold
Mike HeathDavid LarsonJeff FloatBruce HayesGeoff GaberinoRich Saeger
2West GermanyFRG7:25.29 (1 h2)7:15.73 (2)Silver
Thomas FahrnerDirk KorthalsAlexander SchowtkaMichael GroßRainer HenkelStefan Pfeiffer (DNS)
3Great BritainGBR7:26.83 (2 h1)7:24.78 (3)Bronze
Neil CochranPaul EasterPaul HoweAndy Astbury
4AustraliaAUS7:26.93 (2 h2)7:25.63 (4)
Peter DaleJustin LembergRon McKeonGraeme BrewerTom StachewiczNeil Brooks (DNS)Greg Fasala (DNS)
5CanadaCAN7:28.31 (3 h2)7:26.51 (5)
Sandy GossWayne KellyPeter SzmidtAlex BaumannBenoît ClémentBlair Hicken (DNS)
6SwedenSWE7:28.60 (4 h1)7:26.53 (6)
Michael SöderlundTom WernerAnders HolmertzThomas LejdströmMikael ÖrnAnders Grillhammar (DNS)
7NetherlandsNED7:29.14 (5 h1)7:26.72 (7)
Hans KroesPeter DrostEdsard SchlingemannFrank DrostCees Vervoorn (DNS)
8FranceFRA7:27.40 (3 h1)7:30.16 (8)
Stéphan CaronDominique BatailleMichel PouPierre Andraca
9BrazilBRA7:30.41 (6 h1)
Cyro DelgadoMarcelo JucáDjan MadrugaJorge FernandesRonald Menezes (DNS)
10VenezuelaVEN7:31.79 (4 h2)
Jean-Marie FrançoisAlberto José UmañaRafael VidalAlberto Mestre
11SpainESP7:32.21 (5 h2)
Juan EscalasRafael EscalasJuan Carlos VallejoDavid López-Zubero
12TurkeyTUR7:59.36 (6 h2)
Gökhan AttaroğluKemal Sadri ÖzünAhmet Nakkaşİhsan Sabri Özün
DQJapanJPN– (DQ h1)
Taihei SakaHiroshi SakamotoKeisuke OkunoShigeo OgataSatoshi Sumida (DNS)
DQItalyITA– (DQ h2)
Marco ColomboMarcello GuarducciFabrizio RampazzoMarco Dell'UomoGiovanni Franceschi (DNS)Raffaele Franceschi (DNS)Paolo Revelli (DNS)Metello Savino (DNS)

Round One (30 July 1984 — 10:20)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 m100 m150 mTimeExchange (Pos)
14United StatesUSA7:18.87QWR
Geoff Gaberino1:49.801:49.80 (1)
David Larson1:50.183:39.98 (1)
Bruce Hayes1:50.045:30.02 (1)
Rich Saeger1:48.857:18.87 (1)
23Great BritainGBR7:26.83Q
Neil Cochran1:52.911:52.91 (4)
Paul Easter1:50.633:43.54 (2)
Paul Howe1:52.025:35.56 (2)
Andy Astbury1:51.277:26.83 (2)
Pierre Andraca1:53.131:53.13 (6)
Dominique Bataille1:51.423:44.55 (4)
Michel Pou1:52.745:37.29 (4)
Stéphan Caron1:50.117:27.40 (3)
Michael Söderlund1:51.951:51.95 (2)
Tom Werner1:52.283:44.23 (3)
Mikael Örn1:53.015:37.24 (3)
Anders Holmertz1:51.367:28.60 (4)
Hans Kroes1:53.091:53.09 (5)
Peter Drost1:53.163:46.25 (6)
Edsard Schlingemann1:51.945:38.19 (6)
Frank Drost1:50.957:29.14 (5)
Cyro Delgado1:52.491:52.49 (3)
Marcelo Jucá1:53.083:45.57 (5)
Djan Madruga1:52.515:38.08 (5)
Jorge Fernandes1:52.337:30.41 (6)
Taihei Saka– (AC)
Hiroshi Sakamoto– (AC)
Keisuke Okuno– (AC)
Shigeo Ogata– (AC)

Heat Two

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 m100 m150 mTimeExchange (Pos)
14West GermanyFRG7:25.29Q
Rainer Henkel1:52.941:52.94 (4)
Dirk Korthals1:50.373:43.31 (1)
Alexander Schowtka1:50.825:34.13 (1)
Thomas Fahrner1:51.167:25.29 (1)
Justin Lemberg1:52.651:52.65 (2)
Ron McKeon1:51.043:43.69 (2)
Tom Stachewicz1:52.615:36.30 (2)
Graeme Brewer1:50.637:26.93 (2)
Sandy Goss1:52.151:52.15 (1)
Benoît Clément1:52.513:44.66 (3)
Wayne Kelly1:52.085:36.74 (3)
Peter Szmidt1:51.577:28.31 (3)
Jean-Marie François1:53.751:53.75 (5)
Alberto José Umaña1:55.663:49.41 (5)
Rafael Vidal1:51.915:41.32 (5)
Alberto Mestre1:50.477:31.79 (4)
Juan Escalas1:52.761:52.76 (3)
Rafael Escalas1:54.473:47.23 (4)
Juan Carlos Vallejo1:51.595:38.82 (4)
David López-Zubero1:53.397:32.21 (5)
Gökhan Attaroğlu1:56.011:56.01 (6)
Kemal Sadri Özün2:00.933:56.94 (6)
Ahmet Nakkaş1:59.455:56.39 (6)
İhsan Sabri Özün2:02.977:59.36 (6)
Marco Colombo– (AC)
Marcello Guarducci– (AC)
Fabrizio Rampazzo– (AC)
Marco Dell'Uomo– (AC)

Final (30 July 1984 — 17:25)

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 m100 m150 mTimeExchange (Pos)
14United StatesUSA7:15.69WR
Mike Heath1:48.671:48.67 (1)
David Larson1:49.013:37.68 (1)
Jeff Float1:49.605:27.28 (1)
Bruce Hayes1:48.417:15.69 (1)
25West GermanyFRG7:15.73
Thomas Fahrner1:49.831:49.83 (2)
Dirk Korthals1:48.753:38.58 (2)
Alexander Schowtka1:50.265:28.84 (2)
Michael Groß1:46.897:15.73 (2)
33Great BritainGBR7:24.78
Neil Cochran1:52.081:52.08 (8)
Paul Easter1:49.643:41.72 (3)
Paul Howe1:51.635:33.35 (3)
Andy Astbury1:51.437:24.78 (3)
Peter Dale1:51.961:51.96 (7)
Justin Lemberg1:52.083:44.04 (6)
Ron McKeon1:50.525:34.56 (4)
Graeme Brewer1:51.077:25.63 (4)
Sandy Goss1:51.691:51.69 (4)
Wayne Kelly1:53.083:44.77 (8)
Peter Szmidt1:51.235:36.00 (6)
Alex Baumann1:50.517:26.51 (5)
Michael Söderlund1:51.731:51.73 (5)
Tom Werner1:51.793:43.52 (5)
Anders Holmertz1:51.335:34.85 (5)
Thomas Lejdström1:51.687:26.53 (6)
Hans Kroes1:51.841:51.84 (6)
Peter Drost1:52.773:44.61 (7)
Edsard Schlingemann1:51.425:36.03 (7)
Frank Drost1:50.697:26.72 (7)
Stéphan Caron1:50.991:50.99 (3)
Dominique Bataille1:52.493:43.48 (4)
Michel Pou1:53.415:36.89 (8)
Pierre Andraca1:53.277:30.16 (8)