| Event type

400 metres Freestyle, Women

Date30 August 1972
LocationSchwimmhalle, Olympiapark, München
Participants29 from 17 countries

Shane Gould was favored, as she was in every freestyle event in Munich. She held the world record, set at a meet in Santa Clara, California in July 1971. But she had lost the 100 free final the day before, and was considered slightly vulnerable. But it was not to be, as Gould took the lead comfortably on the first lap, and simply kept pulling ahead. She eventually won by over three seconds, at least 10 metres of open water between Gould and silver medalist Novella Calligaris of Italy, which was the first ever Olympic medal for Italy by a female swimmer. Trailing in third was East German Gudrun Wegner, who held off a fast-closing Shirley Babashoff (USA).

1Shane GouldAUS4:28.46 (1 h3)4:19.04 (1)Gold
2Novella CalligarisITA4:24.14 (1 h4)4:22.44 (2)Silver
3Gudrun WegnerGDR4:25.13 (3 h4)4:23.11 (3)Bronze
4Shirley BabashoffUSA4:31.98 (1 h2)4:23.59 (4)
5Jenny WylieUSA4:27.53 (1 h1)4:24.07 (5)
6Keena RothhammerUSA4:24.82 (2 h4)4:24.22 (6)
7Hansje BunschotenNED4:31.76 (2 h3)4:29.70 (7)
8Anke RijndersNED4:29.94 (2 h1)4:31.51 (8)
9Karin TüllingGDR4:32.56 (3 h1)
10Uta SchützFRG4:34.67 (3 h3)
11Karen MorasAUS4:36.14 (2 h2)
12Federica StabiliniITA4:36.32 (4 h1)
13Mary Beth RondeauCAN4:36.71 (3 h2)
14Narelle MorasAUS4:37.57 (4 h3)
15Susan EdmondsonGBR4:39.10 (5 h3)
16María Teresa RamírezMEX4:39.14 (5 h1)
17Anne Marie McCaffreyCAN4:39.92 (4 h2)
18Olga de ÁnguloCOL4:40.09 (4 h4)
19Jaynie ParkhouseNZL4:40.24 (5 h4)
20Ileana MoralesVEN4:44.73 (6 h3)
21June GreenGBR4:45.81 (6 h4)
22Roselina ÁngelCOL4:45.97 (5 h2)
23Belinda PhillipsJAM4:47.54 (6 h2)
24Helga WagnerFRG4:47.61 (6 h1)
25Diana SutherlandGBR4:47.66 (7 h3)
26Eleni AvlonitouGRE4:52.10 (7 h4)
27Kirsten KnudsenDEN4:53.76 (7 h1)
28Hsu Yue-YunTPE4:58.57 (7 h2)
29Patricia LópezARG4:59.68 (8 h4)
DNSElke SehmischGDR– (DNS h2)
DNSMireille BassoulLBN– (DNS h3)

Round One (30 August 1972 — 11:35)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Jenny WylieUSA4:27.53QOR
2Anke RijndersNED4:29.94Q
3Karin TüllingGDR4:32.56
4Federica StabiliniITA4:36.32
5María Teresa RamírezMEX4:39.14
6Helga WagnerFRG4:47.61
7Kirsten KnudsenDEN4:53.76

Heat Two

1Shirley BabashoffUSA4:31.98Q
2Karen MorasAUS4:36.14
3Mary Beth RondeauCAN4:36.71
4Anne Marie McCaffreyCAN4:39.92
5Roselina ÁngelCOL4:45.97
6Belinda PhillipsJAM4:47.54
7Hsu Yue-YunTPE4:58.57
DNSElke SehmischGDR

Heat Three

1Shane GouldAUS4:28.46Q
2Hansje BunschotenNED4:31.76Q
3Uta SchützFRG4:34.67
4Narelle MorasAUS4:37.57
5Susan EdmondsonGBR4:39.10
6Ileana MoralesVEN4:44.73
7Diana SutherlandGBR4:47.66
DNSMireille BassoulLBN

Heat Four

1Novella CalligarisITA4:24.14QOR
2Keena RothhammerUSA4:24.82Q
3Gudrun WegnerGDR4:25.13Q
4Olga de ÁnguloCOL4:40.09
5Jaynie ParkhouseNZL4:40.24
6June GreenGBR4:45.81
7Eleni AvlonitouGRE4:52.10
8Patricia LópezARG4:59.68

Final (30 August 1972 — 18:40)

12Shane GouldAUS4:19.04WR
24Novella CalligarisITA4:22.44
33Gudrun WegnerGDR4:23.11
48Shirley BabashoffUSA4:23.59
56Jenny WylieUSA4:24.07
65Keena RothhammerUSA4:24.22
71Hansje BunschotenNED4:29.70
87Anke RijndersNED4:31.51