| Event type

400 metres Freestyle, Women

Date13 – 15 August 1936
LocationSchwimmstadion, Reichssportfeld, Berlin
Participants20 from 10 countries

Fourteen year old Ragnhild Hveger had set the first of her 42 world records early in 1936 and although that record was for the 800m she had emerged as a strong contender for the Olympic title. This was confirmed by her heat swim in which she broke the Olympic record. Waiting for Hveger in the final however was the 100m champion, Rie Mastenbroek. Hveger pushed out to a lead and tried to shake off the presence of the Dutch swimmer but it was to no avail and Mastenbroek sprinted ahead with less than ten metres left to win her third gold of the Games. Mastenbroek later told of an incident that happened during before one of the earlier races of the Games. Hveger was handing out chocolates to some of the other swimmers but not to Mastenbroek. This angered the Dutchwoman who was determined to get her “revenge” in the 400m race.

Hveger would go on to dominate the European Championships in London in 1938 and set world bests at both freestyle and backstroke before her retirement. Coming out of retirement to compete in the Helsinki she was still good enough at the age of 32 to reach the final of the 400 metre freestyle. Judging by the times she recorded it is possible that if she competed between 1940 and 1948 her medal tally may have been in double figures.

1Rie MastenbroekNED5:38.6 (1 h5)5:40.3 (1 h1)5:26.4 (1)Gold
2Ragnhild HvegerDEN5:28.0 (1 h1)5:33.7 (1 h2)5:27.5 (2)Silver
3Lenore Kight-WingardUSA5:34.0 (2 h1)5:42.2 (2 h1)5:29.0 (3)Bronze
4Mary Lou PettyUSA6:16.6 (3 h4)5:45.9 (4 h2)5:32.2 (4)
5Piedade CoutinhoBRA5:35.5 (3 h1)5:42.5 (2 h2)5:35.2 (5)
6Kazue KojimaJPN5:50.4 (3 h5)5:43.5 (3 h2)5:43.1 (6)
7Grete FrederiksenDEN5:39.5 (1 h3)5:42.5 (3 h1)5:45.0 (7)
8Tini WagnerNED5:57.5 (1 h2)5:45.9 (4 h1)5:46.0 (8)
5 h1 r2/3Irma SchramkováTCH5:47.5 (2 h5)5:46.0 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/3Louisette FleuretFRA5:46.8 (3 h3)5:46.1 (5 h2)
6 h1 r2/3Hatsuko MoriokaJPN5:51.0 (4 h3)5:49.1 (6 h1)
6 h2 r2/3Ans TimmermansNED5:42.5 (2 h3)5:49.4 (6 h2)
7 h1 r2/3Borbála SóthyHUN6:14.8 (2 h2)6:11.2 (7 h1)
7 h2 r2/3Inger CarlsenDEN5:57.1 (1 h4)5:55.0 (7 h2)
8 h2 r2/3Margaret JefferyGBR6:12.7 (2 h4)6:07.2 (8 h2)
4 h1 r1/3Gladys MorcomGBR6:00.8 (4 h1)
4 h5 r1/3Ágnes BíróHUN6:14.3 (4 h5)
5 h1 r1/3Vera HarsányiHUN6:14.7 (5 h1)
5 h3 r1/3Evelyn de LacyAUS5:51.9 (5 h3)
5 h5 r1/3Scylla VenâncioBRA6:23.0 (5 h5)
DNSJeanette CampbellARG– (DNS h5)
DNSRuth LangerAUT– (DNS h4)
DNSHelena SallesBRA– (DNS h2)
DNSSieglinde LenkBRA
DNSPhyllis DewarCAN– (DNS h2)
DNSIrene Pirie-MiltonCAN– (DNS h4)
DNSMargaret StoneCAN– (DNS h1)
DNSYang XiuqiongCHN– (DNS h4)
DNSMargery HintonGBR– (DNS h2)
DNSAnnie VilligerSUI– (DNS h3)
DNSDorothea DickinsonUSA– (DNS h2)

Round One (13 August 1936 — 10:00)

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

Heat One

15Ragnhild HvegerDEN5:28.0QOR
21Lenore Kight-WingardUSA5:34.0Q
36Piedade CoutinhoBRA5:35.5Q
44Gladys MorcomGBR6:00.8
53Vera HarsányiHUN6:14.7
DNS2Margaret StoneCAN

Heat Two

13Tini WagnerNED5:57.5Q
21Borbála SóthyHUN6:14.8Q
DNS6Helena SallesBRA
DNS2Phyllis DewarCAN
DNS5Margery HintonGBR
DNS4Dorothea DickinsonUSA

Heat Three

12Grete FrederiksenDEN5:39.5Q
21Ans TimmermansNED5:42.5Q
36Louisette FleuretFRA5:46.8Q
43Hatsuko MoriokaJPN5:51.0q
54Evelyn de LacyAUS5:51.9
DNS5Annie VilligerSUI

Heat Four

13Inger CarlsenDEN5:57.1Q
25Margaret JefferyGBR6:12.7Q
36Mary Lou PettyUSA6:16.6Q
DNS4Ruth LangerAUT
DNS1Irene Pirie-MiltonCAN
DNS2Yang XiuqiongCHN

Heat Five

13Rie MastenbroekNED5:38.6Q
25Irma SchramkováTCH5:47.5Q
34Kazue KojimaJPN5:50.4Q
46Ágnes BíróHUN6:14.3
52Scylla VenâncioBRA6:23.0
DNS1Jeanette CampbellARG

Semi-Finals (14 August 1936 — 10:00)

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

Heat One

13Rie MastenbroekNED5:40.3Q
24Lenore Kight-WingardUSA5:42.2Q
36Grete FrederiksenDEN5:42.5Q
42Tini WagnerNED5:45.9Q1
51Irma SchramkováTCH5:46.0
67Hatsuko MoriokaJPN5:49.1
75Borbála SóthyHUN6:11.2

Heat Two

17Ragnhild HvegerDEN5:33.7Q
24Piedade CoutinhoBRA5:42.5Q
36Kazue KojimaJPN5:43.5Q
41Mary Lou PettyUSA5:45.9Q2
52Louisette FleuretFRA5:46.1
63Ans TimmermansNED5:49.4
75Inger CarlsenDEN5:55.0
88Margaret JefferyGBR6:07.2

Final (15 August 1936 — 15:50)

13Rie MastenbroekNED5:26.4OR
22Ragnhild HvegerDEN5:27.5
38Lenore Kight-WingardUSA5:29.0
47Mary Lou PettyUSA5:32.2
51Piedade CoutinhoBRA5:35.2
66Kazue KojimaJPN5:43.1
75Grete FrederiksenDEN5:45.0
84Tini WagnerNED5:46.0