| Event type

1,500 metres Freestyle, Men

Date25 – 26 October 1968
LocationAlberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez, Ciudad de México
Participants21 from 16 countries

The favorite was Mike Burton, who had already won the 400 freestyle, was the current world record holder, and had set three world marks in the race. Mexican fans placed their hopes on Guillermo Echevarría, who in July had set a world record at a meet in Santa Clara, California. But Burton bettered that mark by almost 20 seconds at the US Trials. In the final, Echevarría set a suicidal pace on the first 100, leading Burton, and he paid the price by 200 metres, already falling back. Burton was steady, leading by three lengths at 500 metres, Echevarría holding on for second. By 1,000 metres America’s John Kinsella had moved into second, but he was 18 metres in back of Burton, who had the race in hand, and Echevarría had dropped to near the back of the pack. Burton eventually won by 18.4 seconds over Kinsella, with Australia’s Greg Brough taking the bronze medal, while Echevarría finished sixth. In 1972 at Munich, Burton would return and defend his gold medal. In August 1970, Kinsella became the first swimmer to break 16 minutes for the 1,500. He later became a professional open water swimmer, winning many events, and is one of the few Olympic swimmers to have successfully crossed the English Channel.

1Mike BurtonUSA17:27.2 (1 h1)16:38.9 (1)Gold
2John KinsellaUSA17:22.7 (2 h3)16:57.3 (2)Silver
3Greg BroughAUS17:17.1 (1 h3)17:04.7 (3)Bronze
4Graham WhiteAUS17:10.1 (1 h4)17:08.0 (4)
5Ralph HuttonCAN17:35.9 (2 h1)17:15.6 (5)
6Guillermo EchevarríaMEX17:11.0 (2 h4)17:36.4 (6)
7Juan AlanísMEX17:37.4 (2 h2)17:46.6 (7)
8John NelsonUSA17:36.0 (1 h2)18:05.1 (8)
9Karl-Rüdiger MannGDR17:37.6 (3 h2)
10Hans FaßnachtFRG17:40.2 (3 h1)
11Katsuji ItoJPN17:50.2 (3 h4)
12Julio ArangoCOL17:53.9 (4 h1)
13Gunnar LarssonSWE17:57.0 (3 h3)
14Jorge UrretaMEX17:57.5 (4 h3)
15Jean-François RavelinghienFRA18:11.9 (4 h4)
16Antonio CorellESP18:12.7 (4 h2)
17Vladimir BureURS18:14.7 (5 h1)
18Władysław WojtakajtisPOL18:32.4 (5 h3)
19Jacques HenrardBEL18:38.2 (6 h3)
20Jorge GonzálezPUR19:06.0 (5 h4)
21Rubén GuerreroESA19:36.4 (6 h4)
DNSTomás BecerraCOL– (DNS h1)
DNSGregorio FialloCUB– (DNS h1)
DNSSven von HolstSWE– (DNS h1)
DNSBob LohHKG– (DNS h2)
DNSIstván KolossaHUN– (DNS h2)
DNSTony AsamaliPHI– (DNS h2)
DNSSemyon Belits-GeymanURS– (DNS h2)
DNSJosé MartínezCUB– (DNS h3)
DNSPeter FeilSWE– (DNS h3)
DNSFernando GonzálezECU– (DNS h4)
DNSFrancis LuyceFRA– (DNS h4)

Round One (25 October 1968 — 10:00)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

15Mike BurtonUSA17:27.2Q
23Ralph HuttonCAN17:35.9Q
34Hans FaßnachtFRG17:40.2
42Julio ArangoCOL17:53.9
56Vladimir BureURS18:14.7
DNSTomás BecerraCOL
DNSGregorio FialloCUB
DNSSven von HolstSWE

Heat Two

15John NelsonUSA17:36.0Q
24Juan AlanísMEX17:37.4Q
33Karl-Rüdiger MannGDR17:37.6
46Antonio CorellESP18:12.7
DNSIstván KolossaHUN
DNSTony AsamaliPHI
DNSSemyon Belits-GeymanURS

Heat Three

12Greg BroughAUS17:17.1Q
27John KinsellaUSA17:22.7Q
36Gunnar LarssonSWE17:57.0
44Jorge UrretaMEX17:57.5
55Władysław WojtakajtisPOL18:32.4
63Jacques HenrardBEL18:38.2
DNSJosé MartínezCUB
DNSPeter FeilSWE

Heat Four

13Graham WhiteAUS17:10.1Q
27Guillermo EchevarríaMEX17:11.0Q
34Katsuji ItoJPN17:50.2
45Jean-François RavelinghienFRA18:11.9
56Jorge GonzálezPUR19:06.0
62Rubén GuerreroESA19:36.4
DNSFernando GonzálezECU
DNSFrancis LuyceFRA

Final (26 October 1968 — 17:00)

12Mike BurtonUSA16:38.9OR
26John KinsellaUSA16:57.3
33Greg BroughAUS17:04.7
44Graham WhiteAUS17:08.0
57Ralph HuttonCAN17:15.6
65Guillermo EchevarríaMEX17:36.4
78Juan AlanísMEX17:46.6
81John NelsonUSA18:05.1