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| Event type

400 metres Freestyle, Men

Date10 – 12 August 1936
StatusOlympic
LocationSchwimmstadion, Reichssportfeld, Berlin
Participants34 from 16 countries

Like the 100 metre freestyle at the same Games, this event was predicted to be a battle between an American world record holder and a strong Japanese trio. Unlike the 100, this race would follow the predicted course and turn into a triumph for the USA’s Jack Medica but only after a tremendous duel. Shumpei Uto took a lead over Medica but the American fought back and narrowed a lead. A spurt by the Japanese swimmer pushed him further ahead but his exertion took much out of him and Medica responded. Medica and Uto battled for gold in the final 50 metres with the American only taking the lead with 10 metres to go.

One competitor who did not qualify from his heat was Brazil’s João Havelange. Havelange became one of the world’s leading sports administrators as both a long serving member of the IOC and as president of FIFA, the governing body of world football.

PosSwimmerNOCR1SFFinal
1Jack MedicaUSA4:55.9 (1 h6)4:48.2 (=1 h2)4:44.5 (1)Gold
2Shunpei UtoJPN4:45.5 (1 h5)4:48.4 (1 h1)4:45.6 (2)Silver
3Shozo MakinoJPN4:51.3 (1 h3)4:48.2 (=1 h2)4:48.1 (3)Bronze
4Ralph FlanaganUSA4:54.7 (2 h3)4:49.9 (2 h1)4:52.7 (4)
5Hiroshi NegamiJPN4:52.6 (1 h1)4:55.4 (3 h1)4:53.6 (5)
6Jean TarisFRA4:53.9 (2 h5)4:53.6 (3 h2)4:53.8 (6)
7Bobby LeiversGBR4:57.2 (1 h2)4:55.7 (4 h2)5:00.9 (7)
4 h1 r2/3John MacionisUSA4:57.1 (2 h1)4:56.4 (4 h1)
5 h1 r2/3Hans FreeseGER5:03.1 (2 h4)4:58.5 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/3Heinz ArendtGER4:57.2 (3 h1)5:13.4 (5 h2)
6 h1 r2/3Bob PirieCAN4:56.0 (3 h5)4:58.7 (6 h1)
6 h2 r2/3Otto PrzywaraGER5:11.7 (2 h2)5:14.9 (6 h2)
7 h1 r2/3Ödön GrófHUN4:59.4 (1 h4)5:01.9 (7 h1)
2 h6 r1/3Walter Ledgard JiménezPER5:05.5 (2 h6)– (DNS h2)
3 h2 r1/3Aage HellstrømDEN5:18.2 (3 h2)
3 h3 r1/3Norman WainwrightGBR5:03.6 (3 h3)
3 h4 r1/3Heikki HietanenFIN5:08.9 (3 h4)
3 h6 r1/3Piet StamNED5:07.8 (3 h6)
4 h1 r1/3Árpád LengyelHUN4:57.7 (4 h1)
4 h2 r1/3João HavelangeBRA5:31.5 (4 h2)
4 h3 r1/3Bob HamertonCAN5:13.3 (4 h3)
4 h4 r1/3Willie PearsonGBR5:12.7 (4 h4)
4 h5 r1/3Poul PetersenDEN5:20.3 (4 h5)
4 h6 r1/3Manoel VillarBRA5:18.2 (4 h6)
5 h1 r1/3Edmund PaderAUT5:16.9 (5 h1)
5 h3 r1/3Jørgen JørgensenDEN5:17.8 (5 h3)
5 h4 r1/3Aluizio LageBRA5:18.3 (5 h4)
5 h5 r1/3Edmund CooperBER5:53.8 (5 h5)
5 h6 r1/3Hans BrennerSUI5:33.8 (5 h6)
6 h1 r1/3Robert HooperCAN5:17.2 (6 h1)
6 h3 r1/3István AngyalHUN5:20.9 (6 h3)
6 h4 r1/3Washington GuzmánCHI5:19.1 (6 h4)
7 h3 r1/3Werner LehmannSUI5:36.8 (7 h3)
7 h4 r1/3Franz SeltenheimAUT5:38.3 (7 h4)
DNSGünther ZobernigAUT– (DNS h2)
DNSDudley SpurlingBER– (DNS h2)
DNSCharlie ChanCHN– (DNS h2)
DNSQadri MahmudEGY– (DNS h6)
DNSEgon RoolaidEST– (DNS h5)
DNSPanagiotis ProvatopoulosGRE– (DNS h5)
DNSRoger ZirilliSUI– (DNS h1)

Round One (10 August 1936 — 15:15)

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

Heat One

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
11Hiroshi NegamiJPN4:52.6Q
23John MacionisUSA4:57.1Q
34Heinz ArendtGER4:57.2q
47Árpád LengyelHUN4:57.7
56Edmund PaderAUT5:16.9
65Robert HooperCAN5:17.2
DNS2Roger ZirilliSUI

Heat Two

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
11Bobby LeiversGBR4:57.2Q
25Otto PrzywaraGER5:11.7Q
33Aage HellstrømDEN5:18.2
42João HavelangeBRA5:31.5
DNS4Günther ZobernigAUT
DNS6Charlie ChanCHN
DNS7Dudley SpurlingBER

Heat Three

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
14Shozo MakinoJPN4:51.3Q
22Ralph FlanaganUSA4:54.7Q
37Norman WainwrightGBR5:03.6
41Bob HamertonCAN5:13.3
55Jørgen JørgensenDEN5:17.8
63István AngyalHUN5:20.9
76Werner LehmannSUI5:36.8

Heat Four

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
15Ödön GrófHUN4:59.4Q
27Hans FreeseGER5:03.1Q
33Heikki HietanenFIN5:08.9
42Willie PearsonGBR5:12.7
51Aluizio LageBRA5:18.3
64Washington GuzmánCHI5:19.1
76Franz SeltenheimAUT5:38.3

Heat Five

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
11Shunpei UtoJPN4:45.5QOR
25Jean TarisFRA4:53.9Q
34Bob PirieCAN4:56.0q
43Poul PetersenDEN5:20.3
52Edmund CooperBER5:53.8
DNS6Egon RoolaidEST
DNS7Panagiotis ProvatopoulosGRE

Heat Six

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
16Jack MedicaUSA4:55.9Q
22Walter Ledgard JiménezPER5:05.5Q
35Piet StamNED5:07.8
41Manoel VillarBRA5:18.2
54Hans BrennerSUI5:33.8
DNS3Qadri MahmudEGY

Semi-Finals (11 August 1936 — 10:00)

Top three in each heat and the fastest fourth-place advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
11Shunpei UtoJPN4:48.4Q
23Ralph FlanaganUSA4:49.9Q
34Hiroshi NegamiJPN4:55.4Q
46John MacionisUSA4:56.4
55Hans FreeseGER4:58.5
62Bob PirieCAN4:58.7
77Ödön GrófHUN5:01.9

Heat Two

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
=15Shozo MakinoJPN4:48.2Q
=14Jack MedicaUSA4:48.2Q
32Jean TarisFRA4:53.6Q
46Bobby LeiversGBR4:55.7q
53Heinz ArendtGER5:13.4
67Otto PrzywaraGER5:14.9
DNS1Walter Ledgard JiménezPER

Final (12 August 1936 — 15:30)

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
12Jack MedicaUSA4:44.5OR
23Shunpei UtoJPN4:45.6
37Shozo MakinoJPN4:48.1
45Ralph FlanaganUSA4:52.7
51Hiroshi NegamiJPN4:53.6
66Jean TarisFRA4:53.8
74Bobby LeiversGBR5:00.9