| Event type

50 metres Freestyle, Men

Date24 September 1988
LocationSu-yeong-jang, Ol-lim-pik Gong-won, Seoul
Participants71 from 44 countries

This was the first time that 50 metre freestyle was contested at the Olympics, although there had been a 50 yard freestyle back in 1904. The winner of that event, Hungarian Zoltán von Halmay was not in Seoul to defend his title.

The two favorites were the American Tom Jager and Matt Biondi, who had traded the world record between them since Jager first swam 22.40 in 1985. Biondi broke the mark in 1986 with 22.33, equaling that in 1987, but then Jager swam 22.32 to win the 1987 Pan Pacs, and improved to 22.23 at the 1988 US Nationals. Jager was a slight favorite, having won not only those two races, but also the 1986 Worlds. One swimmer not challenging was South African Peter Williams, who could not be in Seoul because the IOC did not recognize South Africa, and also could not technically hold the world record, although he had the world’s best ever time of 22.18.

The final saw Biondi lead off the blocks, which was an upset in itself, as Jager had always been the faster starter. Biondi always finished faster, and with that start, he could not be caught, winning in a world record 22.14, with Jager finishing second in 22.36. Bronze went to Soviet Gennady Prigoda, runner-up at the 1987 Europeans, edging out Switzerland’s Dano Halsall, runner-up at the 1986 Worlds. This was Biondi’s sixth medal, and fourth gold, of the Seoul Olympics.

PosSwimmerNOCR1B FinalFinal
1Matt BiondiUSA22.39 (1 h8)22.14 (1)Gold
2Tom JagerUSA22.61 (2 h9)22.36 (2)Silver
3Gennady PrigodaURS22.57 (1 h9)22.71 (3)Bronze
4Dano HalsallSUI22.61 (1 h7)22.83 (4)
5Stéfan VolérySUI23.04 (3 h8)22.84 (5)
6Vladimir TkachenkoURS22.81 (2 h7)22.88 (6)
7Frank HenterFRG22.98 (3 h7)23.03 (7)
8Andrew BaildonAUS22.99 (2 h8)23.15 (8)
9Göran TitusSWE23.44 (5 h8)23.28 (1)
10Per JohanssonSWE23.12 (4 h8)23.37 (2)
11Ang Peng SiongSGP23.08 (3 h9)23.39 (3)
12Shen JianqiangCHN23.41 (=5 h9)23.40 (4)
13Christophe KalfayanFRA23.47 (1 h6)23.45 (5)
14Stephan GüsgenFRG23.22 (4 h9)23.55 (6)
15Mark AndrewsCAN23.44 (1 h4)23.64 (7)
16Hilton WoodsAHO23.46 (6 h8)23.65 (8)
17Stéphan CaronFRA23.22 (4 h7)1
18Tsvetan GolomeevBUL23.41 (=5 h9)2
19Feng QiangbiaoCHN23.47 (7 h9)
=20Vagn HøgholmDEN23.50 (5 h7)
=20Hans KroesNED23.50 (8 h9)
22Mark FosterGBR23.51 (6 h7)
23Petr KladivaTCH23.53 (7 h7)
24Manuel GuzmánPUR23.61 (1 h5)
25Mike FibbensGBR23.67 (2 h6)
26Peter RohdeDEN23.70 (7 h8)
27Tom StachewiczAUS23.72 (3 h6)
28Yves ClausseLUX23.99 (4 h6)
29Rodrigo GonzálezMEX24.01 (8 h8)
30Paulo TrindadePOR24.02 (5 h6)
31Sérgio EstevesPOR24.24 (2 h5)
32Garvin FergusonBAH24.25 (1 h1)
=33José MoreiraBRA24.26 (8 h7)
=33Eric BuhainPHI24.26 (2 h4)
35Johnny LiHKG24.30 (3 h5)
36Markus OpatrilAUT24.32 (6 h6)
37Jorge FernandesBRA24.40 (4 h5)
38Alexander PilhatschAUT24.42 (7 h6)
39Michael WrightHKG24.47 (5 h5)
40Magnús ÓlafssonISL24.50 (6 h5)
41Richard BeraINA24.63 (3 h4)
=42Mohamed El-AzoulEGY24.64 (7 h5)
=42Murat TahirTUR24.64 (4 h4)
44Hans FoersterISV24.72 (5 h4)
=45Urbano ZeaMEX24.86 (8 h6)
=45Oon Jin GeeSGP24.86 (1 h3)
47Ronald PickardISV25.01 (2 h3)
48Mohamed HassanEGY25.11 (8 h5)
49Paul YelleBAR25.15 (2 h1)
50Hakan EskioğluTUR25.24 (6 h4)
51Chiang Chi-LiTPE25.26 (3 h3)
52Vaughan SmithZIM25.29 (4 h3)
53Graham ThompsonZIM25.38 (5 h3)
54Song Gwang-SeonKOR25.40 (6 h3)
55Wirmandi SugriatINA25.55 (7 h3)
56Bruno N'DiayeSEN25.63 (8 h3)
57Warren SorbyFIJ25.64 (1 h2)
58Pablo BarahonaHON25.79 (2 h2)
59Sergio FafitineMOZ25.97 (3 h1)
60Plutarco CastellanosHON26.00 (3 h2)
61Hasan Al-ShammariKUW26.27 (4 h2)
62Jason ChuteFIJ26.46 (5 h2)
=63Michele PivaSMR26.60 (=6 h2)
=63Ahmad FarajUAE26.60 (=6 h2)
65Trevor NcalaSWZ26.88 (8 h2)
66Filippo PivaSMR26.96 (4 h1)
67Amine El-DomyatiLBN27.34 (5 h1)
68Mubarak Faraj BilalUAE27.60 (6 h1)
69Yul Mark Du PontSWZ27.93 (7 h1)
DQPedro LimaANG– (DQ h4)
DQMouhamed DiopSEN– (DQ h4)

Round One (24 September 1988 — 10:00)

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

Heat One

12Garvin FergusonBAH24.25OR
27Paul YelleBAR25.15
31Sergio FafitineMOZ25.97
43Filippo PivaSMR26.96
54Amine El-DomyatiLBN27.34
65Mubarak Faraj BilalUAE27.60
76Yul Mark Du PontSWZ27.93

Heat Two

16Warren SorbyFIJ25.64
24Pablo BarahonaHON25.79
33Plutarco CastellanosHON26.00
45Hasan Al-ShammariKUW26.27
51Jason ChuteFIJ26.46
=67Ahmad FarajUAE26.60
=68Michele PivaSMR26.60
82Trevor NcalaSWZ26.88

Heat Three

16Oon Jin GeeSGP24.86
25Ronald PickardISV25.01
33Chiang Chi-LiTPE25.26
41Vaughan SmithZIM25.29
54Graham ThompsonZIM25.38
62Song Gwang-SeonKOR25.40
78Wirmandi SugriatINA25.55
87Bruno N'DiayeSEN25.63

Heat Four

12Mark AndrewsCAN23.44QBOR
23Eric BuhainPHI24.26
34Richard BeraINA24.63
46Murat TahirTUR24.64
58Hans FoersterISV24.72
67Hakan EskioğluTUR25.24
DQ1Pedro LimaANG
DQ5Mouhamed DiopSEN

Heat Five

18Manuel GuzmánPUR23.61
24Sérgio EstevesPOR24.24
33Johnny LiHKG24.30
42Jorge FernandesBRA24.40
56Michael WrightHKG24.47
65Magnús ÓlafssonISL24.50
71Mohamed El-AzoulEGY24.64
87Mohamed HassanEGY25.11

Heat Six

14Christophe KalfayanFRA23.47
23Mike FibbensGBR23.67
35Tom StachewiczAUS23.72
46Yves ClausseLUX23.99
57Paulo TrindadePOR24.02
68Markus OpatrilAUT24.32
72Alexander PilhatschAUT24.42
81Urbano ZeaMEX24.86

Heat Seven

14Dano HalsallSUI22.61QOR
26Vladimir TkachenkoURS22.81Q
33Frank HenterFRG22.98Q
45Stéphan CaronFRA23.22q
57Vagn HøgholmDEN23.50
62Mark FosterGBR23.51
71Petr KladivaTCH23.53
88José MoreiraBRA24.26

Heat Eight

14Matt BiondiUSA22.39QOR
26Andrew BaildonAUS22.99Q
35Stéfan VolérySUI23.04Q
43Per JohanssonSWE23.12q
51Göran TitusSWE23.44q
68Hilton WoodsAHO23.46
77Peter RohdeDEN23.70
82Rodrigo GonzálezMEX24.01

Heat Nine

15Gennady PrigodaURS22.57Q
24Tom JagerUSA22.61Q
38Ang Peng SiongSGP23.08q
43Stephan GüsgenFRG23.22q
=52Shen JianqiangCHN23.41q
=56Tsvetan GolomeevBUL23.41q
71Feng QiangbiaoCHN23.47
87Hans KroesNED23.50

B Final (24 September 1988 — 20:00)

17Göran TitusSWE23.28
25Per JohanssonSWE23.37
34Ang Peng SiongSGP23.39
46Shen JianqiangCHN23.40
58Christophe KalfayanFRA23.45
63Stephan GüsgenFRG23.55
72Mark AndrewsCAN23.64
81Hilton WoodsAHO23.65

Final (24 September 1988 — 20:00)

14Matt BiondiUSA22.14WR
26Tom JagerUSA22.36
35Gennady PrigodaURS22.71
43Dano HalsallSUI22.83
58Stéfan VolérySUI22.84
62Vladimir TkachenkoURS22.88
77Frank HenterFRG23.03
81Andrew BaildonAUS23.15