| Event type

800 metres Freestyle, Women

Date2 – 3 September 1972
LocationSchwimmhalle, Olympiapark, München
Participants36 from 19 countries

Although Shane Gould came into 1972 as the world record holder at every freestyle distance for women, she was felt to be slightly more beatable at the longer distances. At the US Olympic Trials in August in Chicago Jo Harshbarger crushed Gould’s world record for this distance when she recorded 8:53.83. In the final the early leader was Novella Calligaris of Italy, who had won silver in the 400 freestyle. She led through 400 metres, but at 500 American Keena Rothhammer pulled into the lead, just ahead of Calligaris and Gould. Rothhammer would not be headed, increasing the lead for the final six laps to win in world record time, 8:53.68. Gould managed to outswim Calligaris over the final laps and take silver, as the Italian had all she could handle holding off American Ann Simmons, who eventually placed fourth. Harshbarger disappointed, placing sixth in the final.

This ended Gould’s Olympics with three golds, one silver, and one bronze medal. It effectively ended her swimming career as she retired after the Australian Championships in February 1973, at only 16-years-old. At the 1973 World Championships, Calligaris would win this event in world record time with Harshbarger taking silver, while Rothhammer would win a gold in the 200 free and a silver in the 400 free.

1Keena RothhammerUSA8:59.69 (1 h2)8:53.68 (1)Gold
2Shane GouldAUS9:10.84 (1 h4)8:56.39 (2)Silver
3Novella CalligarisITA9:02.96 (1 h1)8:57.46 (3)Bronze
4Ann SimmonsUSA9:11.94 (1 h3)8:57.62 (4)
5Gudrun WegnerGDR9:11.32 (2 h4)8:58.89 (5)
6Jo HarshbargerUSA9:14.46 (1 h5)9:01.21 (6)
7Hansje BunschotenNED9:21.13 (2 h2)9:16.69 (7)
8Narelle MorasAUS9:17.95 (2 h3)9:19.06 (8)
9Andrea EifeGDR9:22.88 (2 h1)
10Uta SchützFRG9:22.93 (3 h2)
11Barbara SchwarzfeldtFRG9:24.89 (3 h1)
12María Teresa RamírezMEX9:25.09 (4 h1)
13Karen MorasAUS9:25.11 (2 h5)
14Karin TüllingGDR9:25.73 (3 h4)
15Federica StabiliniITA9:27.84 (4 h4)
16Jaynie ParkhouseNZL9:34.65 (3 h5)
17Karen LeGresleyCAN9:37.13 (4 h5)
18Roselina ÁngelCOL9:38.08 (3 h3)
19Brenda HolmesCAN9:39.44 (5 h5)
20June GreenGBR9:39.91 (4 h3)
21Olga de ÁnguloCOL9:43.27 (4 h2)
22Mary Beth RondeauCAN9:43.31 (5 h4)
23Helga WagnerFRG9:44.17 (5 h2)
24Susan JonesGBR9:47.35 (6 h5)
25Antonella ValentiniITA9:49.07 (6 h4)
26Laura VacaMEX9:50.10 (5 h3)
27Françoise MonodSUI9:50.73 (5 h1)
28Belinda PhillipsJAM9:53.99 (6 h3)
29Kirsten KnudsenDEN10:02.56 (7 h5)
30Olga PetrusyovaURS10:04.96 (6 h2)
31Patricia LópezARG10:06.39 (7 h4)
32Hsu Yue-YunTPE10:08.49 (6 h1)
33Silvia BorginiARG10:09.19 (7 h2)
34Eleni AvlonitouGRE10:10.88 (7 h1)
35Avis WillingtonGBR10:10.91 (7 h3)
36Aisling O'LearyIRL10:18.05 (8 h5)

Round One (2 September 1972 — 11:55)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Novella CalligarisITA9:02.96QOR
2Andrea EifeGDR9:22.88
3Barbara SchwarzfeldtFRG9:24.89
4María Teresa RamírezMEX9:25.09
5Françoise MonodSUI9:50.73
6Hsu Yue-YunTPE10:08.49
7Eleni AvlonitouGRE10:10.88

Heat Two

1Keena RothhammerUSA8:59.69QOR
2Hansje BunschotenNED9:21.13Q
3Uta SchützFRG9:22.93
4Olga de ÁnguloCOL9:43.27
5Helga WagnerFRG9:44.17
6Olga PetrusyovaURS10:04.96
7Silvia BorginiARG10:09.19

Heat Three

1Ann SimmonsUSA9:11.94Q
2Narelle MorasAUS9:17.95Q
3Roselina ÁngelCOL9:38.08
4June GreenGBR9:39.91
5Laura VacaMEX9:50.10
6Belinda PhillipsJAM9:53.99
7Avis WillingtonGBR10:10.91

Heat Four

1Shane GouldAUS9:10.84Q
2Gudrun WegnerGDR9:11.32Q
3Karin TüllingGDR9:25.73
4Federica StabiliniITA9:27.84
5Mary Beth RondeauCAN9:43.31
6Antonella ValentiniITA9:49.07
7Patricia LópezARG10:06.39

Heat Five

1Jo HarshbargerUSA9:14.46Q
2Karen MorasAUS9:25.11
3Jaynie ParkhouseNZL9:34.65
4Karen LeGresleyCAN9:37.13
5Brenda HolmesCAN9:39.44
6Susan JonesGBR9:47.35
7Kirsten KnudsenDEN10:02.56
8Aisling O'LearyIRL10:18.05

Final (3 September 1972 — 18:20)

14Keena RothhammerUSA8:53.68WR
23Shane GouldAUS8:56.39
35Novella CalligarisITA8:57.46
42Ann SimmonsUSA8:57.62
56Gudrun WegnerGDR8:58.89
67Jo HarshbargerUSA9:01.21
78Hansje BunschotenNED9:16.69
81Narelle MorasAUS9:19.06