| Event type

200 metres Backstroke, Men

Date24 July 1976
LocationPiscine olympique, Montréal, Québec
Participants33 from 23 countries

John Naber was favored in this race, defeating Roland Matthes in the 100 backstroke five days earlier, and also holding the world record, bettering Matthews previous mark at the US Olympic trials in June at Long Beach. But in addition to the gold medal, the two-minute barrier, never bettered for the 200 back, also hung out there as a goal. Naber qualified fastest but with a somewhat slower time, saying later he had trouble getting motivated for his “11th or 12th swim” in Montréal. Not so for the final. Naber went out in 27.73 to lead by a full second over Peter Rocca, silver medalist in the 100 back, with the third American, Dan Harrigan stroke-for-stroke with Rocca. At 100 metres Naber led in 57.45, a time that would have placed him fifth in the 100 backstroke final. Only in the final lap did Rocca make any inroads on the lead, but Naber finished in 1:59.19 to win the gold medal by 1.36 seconds, and become the first swimmer under the magic two-minute barrier. Rocca and Harrigan completed the American sweep, with Australia’s Mark Tonelli, the 1974 Commonwealth Games champion in the 100 backstroke, placing fourth in the Commonwealth record of 2:03.17. This completed the Olympics for John Naber, who won five medals, four of them gold, in Montréal.

1John NaberUSA2:02.01 (1 h5)1:59.19 (1)Gold
2Peter RoccaUSA2:03.31 (1 h4)2:00.55 (2)Silver
3Dan HarriganUSA2:02.25 (1 h2)2:01.35 (3)Bronze
4Mark TonelliAUS2:05.10 (2 h4)2:03.17 (4)
5Mark KerryAUS2:03.54 (1 h1)2:04.07 (5)
6Miloslav RoľkoTCH2:05.33 (2 h5)2:05.81 (6)
7Róbert RudolfHUN2:06.37 (3 h5)2:07.30 (7)
8Zoltán VerrasztóHUN2:05.93 (1 h3)2:08.23 (8)
9Mike ScarthCAN2:07.16 (3 h4)
10Rômulo ArantesBRA2:07.38 (4 h5)
11Leif EricssonSWE2:07.57 (2 h2)
12Daryl SkillingCAN2:07.77 (2 h1)
13Igor Omelchenk'oURS2:07.95 (3 h1)
14Lutz WanjaGDR2:08.02 (3 h2)
15Jim CarterGBR2:08.05 (2 h3)
16Steve HardyCAN2:08.56 (3 h3)
17Santiago EstevaESP2:08.63 (4 h1)
18Reinhold BeckerFRG2:09.54 (4 h2)
19Krasimir StoykovBUL2:09.67 (4 h3)
20José UruetaMEX2:09.74 (4 h4)
21Conrado PortaARG2:09.75 (5 h5)
22Ivan MikolutskyURS2:09.78 (5 h2)
23Peter LerpiniereGBR2:09.88 (6 h5)
24Ignacio ÁlvarezMEX2:11.08 (5 h3)
25Carlos BerrocalPUR2:11.14 (5 h1)
=26Nenad MilošYUG2:11.25 (6 h2)
=26Karim RessangNED2:11.25 (6 h3)
28Predrag MilošYUG2:12.21 (5 h4)
29Ryszard ŻugajPOL2:12.53 (6 h1)
30Thomas HoferSUI2:12.75 (6 h4)
31Gerardo RosarioPHI2:13.89 (7 h5)
32Chiang Jin ChoonMAS2:21.04 (7 h2)
33António Botelho de MeloPOR2:26.65 (7 h1)
DNSRoland MatthesGDR– (DNS h3)
DNSMikael BrandénSWE– (DNS h4)
DNSJulio AbreuPAR– (DNS h5)

Round One (24 July 1976 — 9:30)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

14Mark KerryAUS2:03.54Q
26Daryl SkillingCAN2:07.77
32Igor Omelchenk'oURS2:07.95
45Santiago EstevaESP2:08.63
53Carlos BerrocalPUR2:11.14
67Ryszard ŻugajPOL2:12.53
71António Botelho de MeloPOR2:26.65

Heat Two

14Dan HarriganUSA2:02.25QOR
26Leif EricssonSWE2:07.57
33Lutz WanjaGDR2:08.02
42Reinhold BeckerFRG2:09.54
55Ivan MikolutskyURS2:09.78
67Nenad MilošYUG2:11.25
71Chiang Jin ChoonMAS2:21.04

Heat Three

14Zoltán VerrasztóHUN2:05.93Q
25Jim CarterGBR2:08.05
36Steve HardyCAN2:08.56
42Krasimir StoykovBUL2:09.67
57Ignacio ÁlvarezMEX2:11.08
61Karim RessangNED2:11.25
DNS3Roland MatthesGDR

Heat Four

14Peter RoccaUSA2:03.31Q
25Mark TonelliAUS2:05.10Q
33Mike ScarthCAN2:07.16
42José UruetaMEX2:09.74
57Predrag MilošYUG2:12.21
61Thomas HoferSUI2:12.75
DNS6Mikael BrandénSWE

Heat Five

14John NaberUSA2:02.01QOR
23Miloslav RoľkoTCH2:05.33Q
35Róbert RudolfHUN2:06.37Q
46Rômulo ArantesBRA2:07.38
51Conrado PortaARG2:09.75
62Peter LerpiniereGBR2:09.88
77Gerardo RosarioPHI2:13.89
DNS8Julio AbreuPAR

Final (24 July 1976 — 20:30)

14John NaberUSA1:59.19WR
23Peter RoccaUSA2:00.55
35Dan HarriganUSA2:01.35
42Mark TonelliAUS2:03.17
56Mark KerryAUS2:04.07
67Miloslav RoľkoTCH2:05.81
78Róbert RudolfHUN2:07.30
81Zoltán VerrasztóHUN2:08.23