| Event type

400 metres Individual Medley, Men

Date30 July 1984
LocationOlympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Participants23 from 19 countries

Sidelined by a shoulder injury in 1982, Canadian Alex Baumann had to watch as the World Championships were held, and Brazil’s Ricardo Prado won the title and set the world record of 4:19.78. But Baumann improved later that year and won gold in both IMs at the 1982 Commonwealth Games. Early in 1984, East German Jens-Peter Berndt broke Prado’s world record in Magdeburg, recording 4:19.61, only to see Baumann improve that at the Canadian Olympic Trials in June, with 4:17.53. Berndt was out, a victim of the Soviet-led boycott, but Prado was in Los Angeles, as was American Jesse Vassallo, once the world best in this event, holding the world mark from 1978-82, but now past his best.

In the final Prado led after the first two legs, with Baumann still 1.7 seconds back at 200 metres, with Vassallo. But Baumann outswam Prado by three seconds on the breaststroke to take the lead, as Vassallo fell back. Baumann held on in the freestyle, and won with a world record 4:17.41, over a second ahead of Prado, as the bronze medal went to the surprising Australian Rob Woodhouse.

A few weeks later Berndt won the Friendship Games in 4:18.29. On 7 January 1985, after swimming at a meet in Arkansas, Berndt defected to the United States at the Oklahoma City airport, and would later swim for West Germany at the 1988 Olympics. Baumann had known similar circumstances. Born in Czechoslovakia, he and his family were in New Zealand in 1968 when Soviet tanks rolled into Prague to crush Czech resistance. The family decided not to return to their native land, and settled in Sudbury, Ontario, where Baumann grew up and became the world’s greatest all-around swimmer.

PosSwimmerNOCR1B FinalFinal
1Alex BaumannCAN4:22.46 (1 h3)4:17.41 (1)Gold
2Ricardo PradoBRA4:23.31 (1 h2)4:18.45 (2)Silver
3Rob WoodhouseAUS4:24.85 (3 h3)4:20.50 (3)Bronze
4Jesse VassalloUSA4:23.82 (2 h2)4:21.46 (4)
5Maurizio DivanoITA4:23.61 (2 h1)4:22.76 (5)
6Jeff KostoffUSA4:22.55 (2 h3)4:23.28 (6)
7Steve PoulterGBR4:25.38 (4 h3)4:25.80 (7)
8Giovanni FranceschiITA4:23.03 (1 h1)4:26.05 (8)
9Anders PetersonSWE4:32.93 (6 h2)4:27.95 (1)
10Andrew PhillipsJAM4:29.43 (5 h2)4:27.98 (2)
11Arne BorgstrømNOR4:28.37 (4 h2)4:28.20 (3)
12Ralf DiegelFRG4:28.10 (3 h2)4:28.94 (4)
13Shinji ItoJPN4:30.52 (4 h1)4:29.76 (5)
14Peter DobsonCAN4:29.61 (3 h1)4:30.09 (6)
15Stuart WillmottGBR4:32.90 (5 h1)4:31.10 (7)
16Yoram KochavyISR4:35.70 (5 h3)4:40.00 (8)
17Scott NewkirkISV4:48.15 (6 h1)
18Jairulla JaitullaPHI4:51.24 (7 h2)
19Harry WozniakBAR4:53.87 (6 h3)
20Ng Wing HonHKG4:58.98 (7 h1)
21Julian BollingSRI5:02.88 (8 h2)
22Wu Ming-HsunTPE5:02.94 (7 h3)
23Juan José PinoHON5:15.68 (8 h1)
DNSRafael EscalasESP– (DNS h3)

Round One (30 July 1984 — 9:30)

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

Heat One

14Giovanni FranceschiITA4:23.03Q
25Maurizio DivanoITA4:23.61Q
33Peter DobsonCAN4:29.61q
42Shinji ItoJPN4:30.52q
56Stuart WillmottGBR4:32.90q
67Scott NewkirkISV4:48.15
71Ng Wing HonHKG4:58.98
88Juan José PinoHON5:15.68

Heat Two

14Ricardo PradoBRA4:23.31Q
25Jesse VassalloUSA4:23.82Q
33Ralf DiegelFRG4:28.10q
46Arne BorgstrømNOR4:28.37q
57Andrew PhillipsJAM4:29.43q
62Anders PetersonSWE4:32.93q
71Jairulla JaitullaPHI4:51.24
88Julian BollingSRI5:02.88

Heat Three

14Alex BaumannCAN4:22.46QOR
25Jeff KostoffUSA4:22.55Q
33Rob WoodhouseAUS4:24.85Q
46Steve PoulterGBR4:25.38Q
57Yoram KochavyISR4:35.70q
61Harry WozniakBAR4:53.87
78Wu Ming-HsunTPE5:02.94
DNS2Rafael EscalasESP

B Final (30 July 1984 — 16:55)

11Anders PetersonSWE4:27.95
23Andrew PhillipsJAM4:27.98
35Arne BorgstrømNOR4:28.20
44Ralf DiegelFRG4:28.94
52Shinji ItoJPN4:29.76
66Peter DobsonCAN4:30.09
77Stuart WillmottGBR4:31.10
88Yoram KochavyISR4:40.00

Final (30 July 1984 — 16:45)

14Alex BaumannCAN4:17.41WR
26Ricardo PradoBRA4:18.45
31Rob WoodhouseAUS4:20.50
47Jesse VassalloUSA4:21.46
52Maurizio DivanoITA4:22.76
65Jeff KostoffUSA4:23.28
78Steve PoulterGBR4:25.80
83Giovanni FranceschiITA4:26.05