| Event type

400 metres Individual Medley, Men

Date30 August 1972
LocationSchwimmhalle, Olympiapark, München
Participants32 from 21 countries

The favorite was American Gary Hall, who had set the last four world records, including 4:30.81 set at the 1972 US Trials in Chicago in August. Sweden’s Gunnar Larsson had won both the 200 and 400 IM at the 1970 European Championships, but his times didnot approach Hall’s. In the final Hall led on the butterfly opener, his best stroke, trailed by Hungary’s András Hargitay, but he was almost three bodylengths behind. On the backstroke, Hall opened up further, leaving Hargitay a full three bodylengths in arrears, with Larsson half-a-lap behind, but Larsson’s best stroke was the breaststroke and it was Hall’s worst. Hall was tiring and American Tim McKee caught him at 275 metres, moving into the lead. Hall still led Larsson after 300 metres but he was visibly tiring and Larsson moved ahead of both McKee and Hall at 325 metres. The final was too close to call so the fans looked to the electric timing. Both Larsson and McKee had finished in 4:31.98, a seeming tie.

But the electric timer could measure to the 1/1000ths of a second and when that was done, Larsson had the gold medal – 4:31.981 to 4:31.983. Thousandth second timing was used at the 1973 World Championships, but this would not be allowed again, as it was shown that this was less than the thickness of one coat of paint on the wall, and minute differences in the lanes could affect this result. All future international swimming races after 1973 would be decided only to the 1/100th of a second, and if swimmers were tied at that margin, they were declared tied.

1Gunnar LarssonSWE4:34.99 (1 h2)4:31.98 (1)Gold
2Tim McKeeUSA4:40.78 (1 h4)4:31.98 (2)Silver
3András HargitayHUN4:37.51 (1 h1)4:32.70 (3)Bronze
4Steve FurnissUSA4:39.33 (1 h3)4:35.44 (4)
5Gary HallUSA4:38.95 (2 h5)4:37.38 (5)
6Bengt GingsjöSWE4:38.05 (1 h5)4:37.96 (6)
7Graham WindeattAUS4:42.16 (2 h4)4:40.39 (7)
8Wolfram SperlingGDR4:42.75 (3 h5)4:40.66 (8)
9Mikhail SukharevURS4:43.13 (3 h4)
10Christian LietzmannGDR4:44.47 (2 h1)
11Ricardo MarmolejoMEX4:45.20 (2 h3)
12Jorge DelgadoECU4:45.25 (4 h5)
13Bertram TürpeGDR4:46.55 (3 h3)
14Bruce FeatherstonAUS4:47.33 (5 h5)
15HaJo GeislerFRG4:48.57 (4 h4)
16Neil MartinAUS4:49.85 (4 h3)
17John McConnochieNZL4:49.89 (2 h2)
18Valentn PartykaURS4:50.03 (3 h2)
19Roger van HamburgNED4:50.70 (3 h1)
20Mauro CalligarisITA4:52.02 (5 h4)
21David BrumwellCAN4:52.41 (4 h2)
22Csaba SósHUN4:52.89 (5 h3)
23Jiro SasakiJPN4:53.65 (5 h2)
24José Luis PradoMEX4:54.49 (4 h1)
25Zbigniew PaceltPOL4:55.38 (6 h5)
26 RochinhaBRA4:57.27 (6 h2)
27Barry PrimeGBR4:57.77 (5 h1)
28Mike HolthausFRG4:58.19 (6 h4)
29Sverre KileNOR4:59.72 (6 h3)
30Gudmunður GíslasonISL5:03.54 (7 h3)
31Jairulla JaitullaPHI5:05.48 (6 h1)
32Hsu Tung-HsiungTPE5:09.56 (7 h2)
DNSAngel ChakarovBUL– (DNS h1)
DNSRoy ChanSGP– (DNS h4)
DNSJuan Carlos BelloPER– (DNS h5)

Round One (30 August 1972 — 10:20)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

1András HargitayHUN4:37.51QOR
2Christian LietzmannGDR4:44.47
3Roger van HamburgNED4:50.70
4José Luis PradoMEX4:54.49
5Barry PrimeGBR4:57.77
6Jairulla JaitullaPHI5:05.48
DNSAngel ChakarovBUL

Heat Two

1Gunnar LarssonSWE4:34.99QOR
2John McConnochieNZL4:49.89
3Valentn PartykaURS4:50.03
4David BrumwellCAN4:52.41
5Jiro SasakiJPN4:53.65
6 RochinhaBRA4:57.27
7Hsu Tung-HsiungTPE5:09.56

Heat Three

1Steve FurnissUSA4:39.33Q
2Ricardo MarmolejoMEX4:45.20
3Bertram TürpeGDR4:46.55
4Neil MartinAUS4:49.85
5Csaba SósHUN4:52.89
6Sverre KileNOR4:59.72
7Gudmunður GíslasonISL5:03.54

Heat Four

1Tim McKeeUSA4:40.78Q
2Graham WindeattAUS4:42.16Q
3Mikhail SukharevURS4:43.13
4HaJo GeislerFRG4:48.57
5Mauro CalligarisITA4:52.02
6Mike HolthausFRG4:58.19

Heat Five

1Bengt GingsjöSWE4:38.05Q
2Gary HallUSA4:38.95Q
3Wolfram SperlingGDR4:42.75Q
4Jorge DelgadoECU4:45.25
5Bruce FeatherstonAUS4:47.33
6Zbigniew PaceltPOL4:55.38
DNSJuan Carlos BelloPER

Final (30 August 1972 — 18:00)

14Gunnar LarssonSWE4:31.98OR1
27Tim McKeeUSA4:31.98OR2
35András HargitayHUN4:32.70
42Steve FurnissUSA4:35.44
56Gary HallUSA4:37.38
63Bengt GingsjöSWE4:37.96
71Graham WindeattAUS4:40.39
88Wolfram SperlingGDR4:40.66