| Event type

1,500 metres Freestyle, Men

Date16 – 17 October 1964
LocationKokuritsu Yoyogi Kyogijo, Shibuya, Tokyo
Participants31 from 21 countries

Australia’s Murray Rose had won this event in 1956 and was second in 1960 and was still considered formidable. He was the 400 and 800 metre world record holder from 1962, and in August 1964, he bettered the 1,500 world record with 17:01.8 in Los Altos, California. But by 1964 he had settled in the United States, first as a student at the University of Southern California, and then as an actor in Los Angeles. He elected not to return for the Australian Trials in February, and Australian swimming officials responded by not allowing him on the Olympic team. He would have contended for gold, but might not have been favored, that role going to American Roy Saari, who in September had broken Rose’s world mark and become the first swimmer to go under 17 minutes for the distance, recording 16:58.7. Australia’s best swimmer in Tokyo was Bob Windle, but a few days before he had failed to make the final in the 400 metres and seemed at less than his best.

However, Windle qualified as the fastest in the heats, with Saari only fourth. And Windle took the lead at 100 metres and was never behind, although he was soon caught by his teammate Allan Wood and they led together through 1,000 metres, having 12 metres open water on America’s John Nelson, with Saari struggling. By then Wood had given his best and Windle pulled away. He was ahead of Saari’s world pace at 1,300 metres but slowed on the final laps to win the gold medal in 17:01.7. Nelson came on strong and caught Wood at 1,350 metres, but ran out of water to catch Windle. Saari finished seventh in 17:29.2, nowhere near his best times.

1Bob WindleAUS17:15.9 (1 h1)17:01.7 (1)Gold
2John NelsonUSA17:22.4 (1 h3)17:03.0 (2)Silver
3Allan WoodAUS17:26.3 (1 h4)17:07.7 (3)Bronze
4Bill FarleyUSA17:30.5 (1 h5)17:18.2 (4)
5Russell PheganAUS17:28.9 (2 h3)17:22.4 (5)
6Sueaki SasakiJPN17:28.8 (2 h2)17:25.3 (6)
7Roy SaariUSA17:27.0 (1 h2)17:29.2 (7)
8József KatonaHUN17:33.5 (2 h1)17:30.8 (8)
9Guillermo EchevarríaMEX17:35.0 (3 h3)
10Miguel TorresESP17:36.0 (4 h3)
11Satoru NakanoJPN17:40.4 (2 h5)
12Sandy GilchristCAN17:42.0 (3 h2)
13Kazuyuki IwamotoJPN17:52.7 (3 h1)
14Julio ArangoCOL17:59.1 (3 h5)
15Holger KirschkeGER18:01.6 (4 h1)
16Veljko RogošićYUG18:05.5 (2 h4)
17Celestino PérezPUR18:07.2 (5 h1)
18Alfredo GuzmánMEX18:07.4 (4 h5)
19Heinz JungaGER18:08.7 (5 h3)
20Tin Maung NiMYA18:09.5 (4 h2)
21John ThurleyGBR18:12.3 (3 h4)
22Petr LohnickýTCH18:18.4 (6 h3)
23Tan Thuan HengMAS18:24.2 (6 h1)
24Alan DurrettZAM18:24.9 (5 h2)
25Slobodan DijakovićYUG18:31.2 (6 h2)
26Elliot ChenauxPUR18:33.1 (7 h3)
27Esa LepolaFIN18:33.4 (7 h1)
28Ricardo MorelloARG18:46.5 (4 h4)
29Walter Ledgard BusePER19:10.3 (7 h2)
30Pano CapéronisSUI19:10.5 (5 h4)
31Bob LohHKG19:28.6 (6 h4)

Round One (16 October 1964 — 17:30)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

14Bob WindleAUS17:15.9QOR
23József KatonaHUN17:33.5Q
36Kazuyuki IwamotoJPN17:52.7
42Holger KirschkeGER18:01.6
51Celestino PérezPUR18:07.2
65Tan Thuan HengMAS18:24.2
77Esa LepolaFIN18:33.4

Heat Two

11Roy SaariUSA17:27.0Q
25Sueaki SasakiJPN17:28.8Q
34Sandy GilchristCAN17:42.0
43Tin Maung NiMYA18:09.5
52Alan DurrettZAM18:24.9
67Slobodan DijakovićYUG18:31.2
76Walter Ledgard BusePER19:10.3

Heat Three

11John NelsonUSA17:22.4Q
28Russell PheganAUS17:28.9Q
36Guillermo EchevarríaMEX17:35.0
47Miguel TorresESP17:36.0
55Heinz JungaGER18:08.7
63Petr LohnickýTCH18:18.4
74Elliot ChenauxPUR18:33.1

Heat Four

15Allan WoodAUS17:26.3Q
28Veljko RogošićYUG18:05.5
37John ThurleyGBR18:12.3
46Ricardo MorelloARG18:46.5
52Pano CapéronisSUI19:10.5
61Bob LohHKG19:28.6

Heat Five

13Bill FarleyUSA17:30.5Q
26Satoru NakanoJPN17:40.4
38Julio ArangoCOL17:59.1
47Alfredo GuzmánMEX18:07.4

Final (17 October 1964 — 21:05)

14Bob WindleAUS17:01.7OR
25John NelsonUSA17:03.0
33Allan WoodAUS17:07.7
41Bill FarleyUSA17:18.2
57Russell PheganAUS17:22.4
62Sueaki SasakiJPN17:25.3
76Roy SaariUSA17:29.2
88József KatonaHUN17:30.8