| Event type

1,500 metres Freestyle, Men

Date19 – 20 July 1976
LocationPiscine olympique, Montréal, Québec
Participants31 from 20 countries

The three favorites were Australian Steve Holland, who had set a world record in the event in Sydney in February 1976; Bobby Hackett, runner-up of the US Trials a few weeks before Montréal; and Brian Goodell, who would later win the 400 freestyle gold and had set the world record of 15:06.66 at the US Trials. All had different plans. Hackett was known for setting a suicidal pace and trying to hold on. Holland started slowly and would usually push the middle 500 metres, and then finish with what he had. Goodell would follow the leaders, relying in his faster speed to finish and try to win. Hackett took the lead on the first lap with Holland in his wake, expecting Hackett to go out fast and collapse from the effort. But what he didn’t know was that Hackett had changed his strategy and was setting a moderate pace, one he could maintain all day. At 800 metres, Hackett led in 8:03.50, well off the pace he had set at the US Trials. Holland only realized his mistake at 950 metres and took the lead, but it was far too late for him to drop his American rivals.

Goodell caught Hackett at 1,350 metres, who still trailed Holland by a bit. But Goodell took the lead at 1,400 metres and finished strongly to win the gold comfortably. In the final 100, Hackett came back and overtook Holland for the USA to finish 1-2. Goodell finished in the world record time of 15:02.40, with Hackett and Holland also both under the world mark.

1Brian GoodellUSA15:34.11 (1 h5)15:02.40 (1)Gold
2Bobby HackettUSA15:25.49 (1 h3)15:03.91 (2)Silver
3Steve HollandAUS15:25.93 (1 h4)15:04.66 (3)Bronze
4Djan MadrugaBRA15:36.95 (2 h2)15:19.84 (4)
5Vladimir SalnikovURS15:39.04 (2 h1)15:29.45 (5)
6Max MetzkerAUS15:36.14 (2 h5)15:31.53 (6)
7Paul HartloffUSA15:20.74 (1 h2)15:32.08 (7)
8Zoltán WladárHUN15:37.61 (1 h1)15:45.97 (8)
9Valentin ParinovURS15:41.13 (2 h4)
10Igor KushpelevURS15:43.88 (3 h2)
11Paul NashAUS15:46.51 (2 h3)
12David ParkerGBR15:46.60 (3 h1)
13Sándor NagyHUN15:48.41 (3 h5)
14Paul MidgleyCAN15:49.78 (3 h3)
15Henk ElzermanNED15:51.08 (3 h4)
16Brett NaylorNZL15:52.68 (4 h5)
17Mark TreffersNZL15:56.11 (5 h5)
18Michael KerCAN15:58.07 (4 h4)
19Paul SparkesGBR15:59.04 (4 h2)
20Borut PetričYUG16:03.92 (4 h1)
21István KoczkaHUN16:05.54 (4 h3)
22Gerhard WaldmannSUI16:06.41 (5 h4)
23Stefan WenzFRG16:08.20 (5 h2)
24Johan Van SteenbergeBEL16:14.13 (5 h1)
25José BasESP16:28.59 (6 h5)
26Georgios KarpouzisGRE16:53.92 (6 h1)
27Kevin WilliamsonIRL16:54.11 (5 h3)
28Edwin BorjaPHI17:05.75 (7 h5)
29Kris SumonoINA17:09.17 (6 h2)
30António Botelho de MeloPOR17:24.31 (6 h4)
31Sigurður ÓlafssonISL17:25.10 (7 h1)
DNSWilliam ChaoTPE– (DNS h2)
DNSAndy KnowlesBAH– (DNS h3)
DNSGiorgio QuadriITA– (DNS h3)
DNSFabio BracagliaITA– (DNS h4)
DNSFernando VargasMEX– (DNS h5)

Round One (19 July 1976 — 11:30)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

14Zoltán WladárHUN15:37.61QOR
25Vladimir SalnikovURS15:39.04Q
33David ParkerGBR15:46.60
46Borut PetričYUG16:03.92
52Johan Van SteenbergeBEL16:14.13
67Georgios KarpouzisGRE16:53.92
71Sigurður ÓlafssonISL17:25.101

Heat Two

14Paul HartloffUSA15:20.74QOR
23Djan MadrugaBRA15:36.95Q
35Igor KushpelevURS15:43.88
46Paul SparkesGBR15:59.04
52Stefan WenzFRG16:08.20
61Kris SumonoINA17:09.17
DNS7William ChaoTPE

Heat Three

14Bobby HackettUSA15:25.49Q
23Paul NashAUS15:46.51
36Paul MidgleyCAN15:49.78
45István KoczkaHUN16:05.54
52Kevin WilliamsonIRL16:54.11
DNS1Andy KnowlesBAH
DNS7Giorgio QuadriITA

Heat Four

14Steve HollandAUS15:25.93Q
25Valentin ParinovURS15:41.13
36Henk ElzermanNED15:51.08
43Michael KerCAN15:58.07
52Gerhard WaldmannSUI16:06.41
61António Botelho de MeloPOR17:24.31
DNS7Fabio BracagliaITA

Heat Five

14Brian GoodellUSA15:34.11Q
23Max MetzkerAUS15:36.14Q2
35Sándor NagyHUN15:48.41
46Brett NaylorNZL15:52.68
52Mark TreffersNZL15:56.11
67José BasESP16:28.593
71Edwin BorjaPHI17:05.75
DNS8Fernando VargasMEX

Final (20 July 1976 — 19:30)

16Brian GoodellUSA15:02.40WR
25Bobby HackettUSA15:03.91
33Steve HollandAUS15:04.66
47Djan MadrugaBRA15:19.84
58Vladimir SalnikovURS15:29.45
62Max MetzkerAUS15:31.53
74Paul HartloffUSA15:32.08
81Zoltán WladárHUN15:45.97