| Event type

400 metres Freestyle, Men

Date8 – 10 August 1932
LocationOlympic Park Swimming Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Participants19 from 10 countries
Olympic Record 5:01.6 / Alberto Zorrilla ARG / 9 August 1928

All bar one of the men’s swimming events at the 1932 Olympic Games resulted in Japanese victories; the exception was the victory of Buster Crabbe in the 400 metres freestyle. Although Crabbe was well respected over the distance, France’s Jean Taris was the world record holder and another of the talented young Japanese swimmers, Takashi Yokoyama, had recorded the best heat times. The final quickly turned into a duel between Taris and Crabbe with the three Japanese finalists fighting for the bronze medal. The Frenchman pulled out to an early lead and was two lengths ahead of his rival at the halfway stage, but Crabbe came back at him, drew level and, as the excited crowd roared their local boy onwards, passed Taris to touch first. The margin between first and second at the finish was just a tenth of a second. Crabbe followed Johnny Weissmuller into an acting career and followed him in the role of )Tarzan). He is perhaps best known for his appearances in the “Buck Rogers” and )Flash Gordon) serials from the thirties and early forties.

1Buster CrabbeUSA4:59.8 (1 h2)4:52.7 (1 h2)4:48.4 (1)Gold
2Jean TarisFRA4:53.3 (1 h4)4:52.3 (2 h1)4:48.5 (2)Silver
3Tsutomi OyokotaJPN5:06.3 (2 h5)4:52.8 (3 h1)4:52.3 (3)Bronze
4Takashi YokoyamaJPN4:53.2 (1 h1)4:51.4 (1 h1)4:52.5 (4)
5Noboru SugimotoJPN5:00.2 (2 h2)4:59.0 (2 h2)4:56.1 (5)
6Boy CharltonAUS4:59.8 (1 h3)5:02.1 (3 h2)4:58.6 (6)
4 h1 r2/3Jim GilhulaUSA4:53.3 (2 h1)4:55.4 (4 h1)
4 h2 r2/3Giuseppe PerentinITA5:09.1 (2 h4)5:10.5 (4 h2)
5 h1 r2/3Noel RyanAUS5:01.9 (1 h5)4:59.7 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/3Walter SpenceCAN5:10.0 (3 h3)5:15.6 (5 h2)
6 h1 r2/3Paolo CostoliITA5:06.7 (2 h3)5:06.0 (6 h1)
3 h1 r1/3George BurrowsCAN5:28.9 (3 h1)
3 h2 r1/3Norman WainwrightGBR5:12.0 (3 h2)
3 h4 r1/3Bobby LeiversGBR5:14.6 (3 h4)
3 h5 r1/3George LarsonCAN5:20.1 (3 h5)
4 h2 r1/3Ignacio GutiérrezMEX5:29.1 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/3Gyula KánásyHUN5:40.8 (4 h3)
4 h4 r1/3Nalin MalikIND5:59.0 (4 h4)
5 h3 r1/3Manuel VillegasMEX5:54.2 (5 h3)
DNSCarlos KennedyARG– (DNS h2)
DNSAlberto ZorrillaARG– (DNS h1)
DNSMario de LorenzoBRA– (DNS h5)
DNSOscar da Silva CallaresBRA– (DNS h2)
DNSFernando de MacedoBRA– (DNS h1)
DNSLászló SzabadosHUN– (DNS h5)
DNSAndrás WaniéHUN– (DNS h1)
DNSHerbert BarthelsUSA– (DNS h4)

Round One (8 August 1932 — 15:15)

Top two in each heat and the fastest third-place advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

14Takashi YokoyamaJPN4:53.2QOR
23Jim GilhulaUSA4:53.3Q
36George BurrowsCAN5:28.9
DNS2Alberto ZorrillaARG
DNS5Fernando de MacedoBRA
DNS1András WaniéHUN

Heat Two

15Buster CrabbeUSA4:59.8Q
24Noboru SugimotoJPN5:00.2Q
32Norman WainwrightGBR5:12.0
43Ignacio GutiérrezMEX5:29.1
DNS1Carlos KennedyARG
DNS6Oscar da Silva CallaresBRA

Heat Three

12Boy CharltonAUS4:59.8Q
23Paolo CostoliITA5:06.7Q
35Walter SpenceCAN5:10.0q
44Gyula KánásyHUN5:40.8
51Manuel VillegasMEX5:54.2

Heat Four

15Jean TarisFRA4:53.3Q
22Giuseppe PerentinITA5:09.1Q
31Bobby LeiversGBR5:14.6
43Nalin MalikIND5:59.0
DNS4Herbert BarthelsUSA

Heat Five

11Noel RyanAUS5:01.9Q
25Tsutomi OyokotaJPN5:06.3Q
33George LarsonCAN5:20.1
DNS4Mario de LorenzoBRA
DNS2László SzabadosHUN

Semi-Finals (9 August 1932 — 10:00)

Top three in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Takashi YokoyamaJPN4:51.4QOR
2Jean TarisFRA4:52.3Q
3Tsutomi OyokotaJPN4:52.8Q
4Jim GilhulaUSA4:55.4
5Noel RyanAUS4:59.7
6Paolo CostoliITA5:06.0

Heat Two

1Buster CrabbeUSA4:52.7Q
2Noboru SugimotoJPN4:59.0Q
3Boy CharltonAUS5:02.1Q
4Giuseppe PerentinITA5:10.5
5Walter SpenceCAN5:15.6

Final (10 August 1932 — 15:30)

1Buster CrabbeUSA4:48.4OR
2Jean TarisFRA4:48.5
3Tsutomi OyokotaJPN4:52.3
4Takashi YokoyamaJPN4:52.5
5Noboru SugimotoJPN4:56.1
6Boy CharltonAUS4:58.6