| Event type

400 metres Freestyle, Men

Date22 – 23 October 1968
LocationAlberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez, Ciudad de México
Participants37 from 20 countries

Since the 1964 Olympics the world record has been improved 10 times by seven different swimmers, with the most recent mark being 4:06.5, set by Canada’s Ralph Hutton at Lincoln, Nebraska in August 1968. He was considered co-favorite with America’s Mike Burton, a long-distance specialist who was even better at 800 and 1,500 metres. Burton had been sick in Mexico City and almost withdrew, and then started the 400 final by false starting. But when the race started for real he quickly moved to the lead. He and Hutton then exchanged the lead over the next few laps until Burton moved ahead at 300 metres. At that point Burton’s strength proved crucial and he pulled further away on the final two laps to win over Hutton by 2.7 seconds. Alain Mosconi (FRA), twice a world record holder in the event, swam a tactical race for the bronze medal. A few days later, Burton would come back and win the 1,500 metres, a gold medal which he would repeat in 1972.

1Mike BurtonUSA4:19.3 (1 h3)4:09.0 (1)Gold
2Ralph HuttonCAN4:21.0 (1 h5)4:11.7 (2)Silver
3Alain MosconiFRA4:19.0 (1 h4)4:13.3 (3)Bronze
4Greg BroughAUS4:19.6 (2 h3)4:15.9 (4)
5Graham WhiteAUS4:17.0 (1 h2)4:16.7 (5)
6John NelsonUSA4:18.7 (1 h1)4:17.2 (6)
7Hans FaßnachtFRG4:20.7 (2 h6)4:18.1 (7)
8Brent BerkUSA4:20.2 (1 h6)4:26.0 (8)
=9Semyon Belits-GeymanURS4:22.7 (2 h2)
=9Greg RogersAUS4:22.7 (2 h4)
11Guillermo EchevarríaMEX4:24.0 (3 h2)
12Gunnar LarssonSWE4:25.0 (2 h5)
13Julio ArangoCOL4:25.8 (4 h2)
14Alfred MüllerGDR4:26.4 (5 h2)
15Juan AlanísMEX4:27.4 (3 h6)
16Ron JacksCAN4:29.4 (4 h6)
17Francis LuyceFRA4:30.3 (2 h1)
18Jean-François RavelinghienFRA4:30.7 (3 h3)
19Władysław WojtakajtisPOL4:31.1 (3 h1)
20Pano CapéronisSUI4:31.4 (3 h5)
21Ørjan MadsenNOR4:31.8 (4 h5)
22Werner KrammelFRG4:34.0 (4 h3)
23Jorge UrretaMEX4:34.3 (5 h3)
24Sven von HolstSWE4:35.0 (5 h5)
25Akhmed AnarbayevURS4:35.1 (3 h4)
26Fernando GonzálezECU4:35.3 (4 h4)
27Mátyás BorlóiHUN4:35.4 (4 h1)
28Jorge GonzálezPUR4:38.1 (5 h6)
29Gregorio FialloCUB4:41.5 (5 h1)
=30Csaba CsatlósHUN4:47.6 (6 h2)
=30Tony AsamaliPHI4:47.6 (6 h5)
32Rubén GuerreroESA4:50.8 (6 h6)
33Michael GoodnerPUR5:00.2 (6 h1)
34Andrew LohHKG5:03.6 (7 h5)
35Ronnie WongHKG5:05.7 (6 h3)
36Friedrich JokischESA5:09.2 (5 h4)
37Bob LohHKG5:10.1 (7 h2)
DNSCarlos van der MaathARG– (DNS h1)
DNSJosé AlvaradoESA– (DNS h4)
DNSRoosevelt AbdulgafurPHI– (DNS h4)
DNSTony JarvisGBR– (DNS h6)

Round One (22 October 1968 — 10:00)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

15John NelsonUSA4:18.7Q
22Francis LuyceFRA4:30.3
37Władysław WojtakajtisPOL4:31.1
43Mátyás BorlóiHUN4:35.4
54Gregorio FialloCUB4:41.5
66Michael GoodnerPUR5:00.2
DNSCarlos van der MaathARG

Heat Two

12Graham WhiteAUS4:17.0Q
25Semyon Belits-GeymanURS4:22.7
34Guillermo EchevarríaMEX4:24.0
43Julio ArangoCOL4:25.8
51Alfred MüllerGDR4:26.4
67Csaba CsatlósHUN4:47.6
76Bob LohHKG5:10.1

Heat Three

12Mike BurtonUSA4:19.3Q
27Greg BroughAUS4:19.6Q
33Jean-François RavelinghienFRA4:30.7
46Werner KrammelFRG4:34.0
55Jorge UrretaMEX4:34.3
64Ronnie WongHKG5:05.7

Heat Four

15Alain MosconiFRA4:19.0Q
24Greg RogersAUS4:22.7
32Akhmed AnarbayevURS4:35.1
46Fernando GonzálezECU4:35.3
53Friedrich JokischESA5:09.2
DNSJosé AlvaradoESA
DNSRoosevelt AbdulgafurPHI

Heat Five

14Ralph HuttonCAN4:21.0Q
27Gunnar LarssonSWE4:25.0
35Pano CapéronisSUI4:31.4
46Ørjan MadsenNOR4:31.8
51Sven von HolstSWE4:35.0
63Tony AsamaliPHI4:47.6
72Andrew LohHKG5:03.6

Heat Six

14Brent BerkUSA4:20.2Q
26Hans FaßnachtFRG4:20.7Q
37Juan AlanísMEX4:27.4
42Ron JacksCAN4:29.4
55Jorge GonzálezPUR4:38.1
63Rubén GuerreroESA4:50.8
DNSTony JarvisGBR

Final (23 October 1968 — 17:00)

16Mike BurtonUSA4:09.0OR
28Ralph HuttonCAN4:11.7
33Alain MosconiFRA4:13.3
42Greg BroughAUS4:15.9
54Graham WhiteAUS4:16.7
65John NelsonUSA4:17.2
71Hans FaßnachtFRG4:18.1
87Brent BerkUSA4:26.0