| Event type

400 metres Freestyle, Men

Date 2 August 1984
LocationOlympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Participants36 from 25 countries

The best 400 freestyler in the world was not in Los Angeles. That was Vladimir Salnikov of the USSR, defending champion in this event, 1978 and 1982 World Champion at both the 400 and 1,500, and a five-time world record holder in this event. Salnikov had swum 3:48.23 at Moscow in February 1983 for the current world mark as the Los Angeles Olympics opened. It was never challenged. The favorites in LA were American George DiCarlo and West German Thomas Fahrner. DiCarlo qualified comfortably in third place, as the leading morning qualifier was Fahrner’s teammate Stefan Pfeiffer, followed by American John Mykkanen, and DiCarlo. Fahrner wanted to save himself for the evening final and only aimed for a qualifying time that would put him in outside lane, but he misjudged the qualifying times, placed ninth, and did not make the final.

In the final DiCarlo and Mykkanen fought out a very close race, with DiCarlo winning gold in 3:51.23, nowhere near Salnikov’s times. Mykkanen won silver followed by Australian Justin Lemberg for the bronze. DiCarlo’s set an Olympic record, bettering Salnikov’s 3:51.31 from Moscow, but it did not last long. The B final started 10 minutes after the main final, and Thomas Fahrner elected to race. Putting everything he had into it, Fahrner finished in 3:50.91 to set the Olympic record, despite finishing 9th overall in the event. The officials from FINA initially considered not awarding the Olympic record to Fahrner, but quickly reversed themselves.

PosSwimmerNOCR1B FinalFinal
1George DiCarloUSA3:53.44 (1 h5)3:51.23 (1)Gold
2John MykkanenUSA3:53.43 (1 h4)3:51.49 (2)Silver
3Justin LembergAUS3:53.89 (1 h2)3:51.79 (3)Bronze
4Stefan PfeifferFRG3:53.41 (1 h1)3:52.91 (4)
5Franck IaconoFRA3:55.07 (2 h5)3:54.58 (5)
6Darjan PetričYUG3:54.39 (2 h4)3:54.88 (6)
7Marco Dell'UomoITA3:55.00 (2 h1)3:55.44 (7)
8Ron McKeonAUS3:55.06 (3 h4)3:55.48 (8)
9Thomas FahrnerFRG3:55.26 (1 h3)3:50.91 (1)
10Juan EscalasESP3:55.93 (3 h1)3:55.25 (2)
11Peter SzmidtCAN3:55.65 (2 h3)3:56.99 (3)
12Stefano GrandiITA3:56.23 (3 h5)3:57.17 (4)
13Arne BorgstrømNOR3:57.88 (4 h5)3:57.46 (5)
14Andy AstburyGBR3:58.41 (4 h3)3:58.14 (6)
15Marcelo JucáBRA3:57.43 (3 h2)3:58.23 (7)
16Mike DavidsonNZL3:57.88 (4 h4)3:58.24 (8)
17Carlos ScanavinoURU3:55.92 (3 h3)1
18Borut PetričYUG3:56.07 (2 h2)2
19Dave ShemiltCAN3:58.43 (4 h2)
20Marc Van De WegheBEL4:00.01 (5 h2)
21Anders GrillhammarSWE4:00.26 (5 h3)
22Shigeo OgataJPN4:02.97 (6 h2)
23Anders HolmertzSWE4:03.07 (4 h1)
24Jean-Marie FrançoisVEN4:03.08 (5 h4)
25Paul HoweGBR4:04.07 (5 h5)
26Alejandro LecotARG4:05.74 (6 h3)
27Keisuke OkunoJPN4:06.31 (6 h5)
28William WilsonPHI4:06.86 (7 h3)
29Gökhan AttaroğluTUR4:07.07 (6 h4)
30Franz MortensenDEN4:09.80 (5 h1)
31Evert KroonAHO4:11.97 (7 h5)
32Scott NewkirkISV4:12.60 (6 h1)
33Wu Ming-HsunTPE4:13.11 (7 h1)
34Ahmet NakkaşTUR4:16.49 (7 h2)
35Lin Chun-HongTPE4:20.65 (8 h5)
36Julian BollingSRI4:23.42 (7 h4)
DNSFabián FerrariARG– (DNS h4)

Round One (2 August 1984 — 8:30)

Fastest eight advanced to the final. Places 9-16 advanced to the B Final.

Heat One

14Stefan PfeifferFRG3:53.41Q
25Marco Dell'UomoITA3:55.00Q
33Juan EscalasESP3:55.93q
46Anders HolmertzSWE4:03.07
57Franz MortensenDEN4:09.80
62Scott NewkirkISV4:12.60
71Wu Ming-HsunTPE4:13.11

Heat Two

14Justin LembergAUS3:53.89Q
23Borut PetričYUG3:56.07q
35Marcelo JucáBRA3:57.43q
46Dave ShemiltCAN3:58.43
57Marc Van De WegheBEL4:00.01
62Shigeo OgataJPN4:02.97
71Ahmet NakkaşTUR4:16.49

Heat Three

14Thomas FahrnerFRG3:55.26q
26Peter SzmidtCAN3:55.65q
35Carlos ScanavinoURU3:55.92q
43Andy AstburyGBR3:58.41
52Anders GrillhammarSWE4:00.26
67Alejandro LecotARG4:05.74
71William WilsonPHI4:06.86

Heat Four

14John MykkanenUSA3:53.43Q
25Darjan PetričYUG3:54.39Q
33Ron McKeonAUS3:55.06Q
46Mike DavidsonNZL3:57.88q
52Jean-Marie FrançoisVEN4:03.08
61Gökhan AttaroğluTUR4:07.07
78Julian BollingSRI4:23.42
DNS7Fabián FerrariARG

Heat Five

14George DiCarloUSA3:53.44Q
23Franck IaconoFRA3:55.07Q
36Stefano GrandiITA3:56.23q
45Arne BorgstrømNOR3:57.88q
52Paul HoweGBR4:04.07
61Keisuke OkunoJPN4:06.31
77Evert KroonAHO4:11.97
88Lin Chun-HongTPE4:20.65

B Final (2 August 1984 — 16:25)

14Thomas FahrnerFRG3:50.91OR
23Juan EscalasESP3:55.25
35Peter SzmidtCAN3:56.99
46Stefano GrandiITA3:57.17
57Arne BorgstrømNOR3:57.46
68Andy AstburyGBR3:58.14
72Marcelo JucáBRA3:58.23
81Mike DavidsonNZL3:58.24

Final (2 August 1984 — 16:15)

13George DiCarloUSA3:51.23OR
25John MykkanenUSA3:51.49
36Justin LembergAUS3:51.79
44Stefan PfeifferFRG3:52.91
58Franck IaconoFRA3:54.58
62Darjan PetričYUG3:54.88
77Marco Dell'UomoITA3:55.44
81Ron McKeonAUS3:55.48