| Event type

100 metres Backstroke, Men

Date24 September 1988
LocationSu-yeong-jang, Ol-lim-pik Gong-won, Seoul
Participants52 from 38 countries

The world record had been broken five times already in 1988, the first three by Soviet Igor Polyansky, and then twice by American Dave Berkoff at the US Olympic Trials. Polyansky was the 1986 World Champion in both backstroke events, but Berkoff had pioneered a new technique. He swam as far as he could underwater after the push-off, often not emerging on top of the water until the 35-40 metre mark. This usually gave him a big lead at the turn, and it was so advantageous that the other swimmers had to adopt the technique, although Berkoff usually still led through the first 40. Berkoff used it in Seoul to break the world record in the preliminaries, recording 54.51.

But in the Seoul final, Berkoff used the technique but only led Japan’s Daichi Suzuki by about a body length at the turn. That was less than expected and it was not enough, as Suzuki came home faster to win the gold medal. Berkoff won silver, barely holding off Polyansky. In fifth place was Canada’s Mark Tewksbury, the 1991 Pan Pacific Champion, who never adapted well to the new underwater technique. He would not need it long. As soon as the Seoul Olympics ended, Berkoff’s underwater start was banned, with the new rule requiring that backstrokers surface and begin stroking on top of the water by 10 metres. This was later changed to 15 metres.

PosSwimmerNOCR1B FinalFinal
1Daichi SuzukiJPN55.90 (2 h7)55.05 (1)Gold
2Dave BerkoffUSA54.51 (1 h7)55.18 (2)Silver
3Igor PolyanskyURS55.04 (1 h6)55.20 (3)Bronze
4Sergey ZabolotnovURS56.13 (3 h7)55.37 (4)
5Mark TewksburyCAN56.20 (2 h6)56.09 (5)
6Frank BaltruschGDR56.45 (3 h6)56.10 (6)
7Frank HoffmeisterFRG56.19 (4 h7)56.19 (7)
8Sean MurphyCAN56.20 (1 h5)56.32 (8)
9Dirk RichterGDR56.52 (2 h5)56.66 (1)
10Franck SchottFRA56.76 (4 h6)56.98 (2)
11Jay MortensonUSA57.19 (4 h5)57.06 (3)
12Shigemori MaruyamaJPN57.54 (5 h5)57.13 (4)
13Georgi MihalevBUL57.06 (5 h6)57.17 (5)
14David LimSGP57.34 (1 h3)57.72 (6)
15Manuel GuzmánPUR57.62 (1 h4)57.95 (7)
16Eðvarð Þór EðvarðssonISL57.70 (6 h5)58.20 (8)
17Jens-Peter BerndtFRG57.08 (3 h5)1
18Lin LaijiuCHN57.74 (6 h6)
19Paul KingsmanNZL57.80 (5 h7)
20Rogério RomeroBRA57.91 (6 h7)
21Lars SørensenDEN58.01 (7 h6)
22Neil HarperGBR58.02 (2 h4)
23Martín López-ZuberoESP58.06 (3 h4)
24Patrick FerlandSUI58.17 (4 h4)
25Neil CochranGBR58.25 (2 h3)
26Alejandro AlvizuriPER58.37 (3 h3)
27Carl WilsonAUS58.40 (7 h7)
28Tamás DeutschHUN58.65 (5 h4)
29Stephen CullenIRL58.82 (4 h3)
30Pavel VokounTCH58.88 (7 h5)
31Renaud BoucherFRA58.90 (6 h4)
32Simon UptonAUS59.06 (8 h5)
33Ernesto VelaMEX59.19 (5 h3)
34Ilias MalamasGRE59.24 (6 h3)
35Huang GuoxiongCHN59.36 (7 h4)
36Richard GheelIRL59.37 (7 h3)
37Valerio GiambalvoITA59.48 (8 h7)
38Vladimir RibeiroBRA59.76 (8 h4)
39Moustafa AminEGY1:00.76 (8 h3)
40Park Dong-PilKOR1:01.25 (1 h2)
41Patrick SagisiGUM1:01.86 (2 h2)
=42Horst NiehausCRC1:01.91 (=3 h2)
=42Yip Hor ManHKG1:01.91 (=3 h2)
44Brett HalfordZIM1:02.95 (5 h2)
45Eric GreenwoodCRC1:03.11 (6 h2)
46Pablo BarahonaHON1:03.90 (7 h2)
47Bruno N'DiayeSEN1:05.06 (8 h2)
48Filippo PivaSMR1:07.63 (1 h1)
49Mohammed AlghafriUAE1:08.91 (2 h1)
50Rami KantariLBN1:09.35 (3 h1)
51Mohamed Bin AbidUAE1:10.01 (4 h1)
52Yul Mark Du PontSWZ1:12.50 (5 h1)
DNSPaul YelleBAR– (DNS h1)
DNSRanjoy PunjaIND– (DNS h6)

Round One (24 September 1988 — 10:00)

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

Heat One

15Filippo PivaSMR1:07.63
26Mohammed AlghafriUAE1:08.91
34Rami KantariLBN1:09.35
43Mohamed Bin AbidUAE1:10.01
52Yul Mark Du PontSWZ1:12.50
DNS7Paul YelleBAR

Heat Two

14Park Dong-PilKOR1:01.25
23Patrick SagisiGUM1:01.86
=35Yip Hor ManHKG1:01.91
=37Horst NiehausCRC1:01.91
51Brett HalfordZIM1:02.95
66Eric GreenwoodCRC1:03.11
78Pablo BarahonaHON1:03.90
82Bruno N'DiayeSEN1:05.06

Heat Three

17David LimSGP57.34q
25Neil CochranGBR58.25
34Alejandro AlvizuriPER58.37
42Stephen CullenIRL58.82
56Ernesto VelaMEX59.19
63Ilias MalamasGRE59.24
71Richard GheelIRL59.37
88Moustafa AminEGY1:00.76

Heat Four

13Manuel GuzmánPUR57.62q
28Neil HarperGBR58.02
32Martín López-ZuberoESP58.06
47Patrick FerlandSUI58.17
54Tamás DeutschHUN58.65
66Renaud BoucherFRA58.90
75Huang GuoxiongCHN59.36
81Vladimir RibeiroBRA59.76

Heat Five

14Sean MurphyCAN56.20Q
26Dirk RichterGDR56.52q
33Jens-Peter BerndtFRG57.08q
45Jay MortensonUSA57.19q2
57Shigemori MaruyamaJPN57.54q
62Eðvarð Þór EðvarðssonISL57.70
71Pavel VokounTCH58.88
88Simon UptonAUS59.06

Heat Six

14Igor PolyanskyURS55.04QOR
25Mark TewksburyCAN56.20Q3
33Frank BaltruschGDR56.45Q
48Franck SchottFRA56.76q
56Georgi MihalevBUL57.06q
62Lin LaijiuCHN57.74
71Lars SørensenDEN58.01
DNS7Ranjoy PunjaIND

Heat Seven

14Dave BerkoffUSA54.51QWR
25Daichi SuzukiJPN55.90Q
36Sergey ZabolotnovURS56.13Q
43Frank HoffmeisterFRG56.19Q
52Paul KingsmanNZL57.80
68Rogério RomeroBRA57.91
77Carl WilsonAUS58.40
81Valerio GiambalvoITA59.48

B Final (24 September 1988 — 20:00)

14Dirk RichterGDR56.66
25Franck SchottFRA56.98
36Jay MortensonUSA57.06
47Shigemori MaruyamaJPN57.13
53Georgi MihalevBUL57.17
62David LimSGP57.72
71Manuel GuzmánPUR57.95
88Eðvarð Þór EðvarðssonISL58.20

Final (24 September 1988 — 20:00)

13Daichi SuzukiJPN55.05
24Dave BerkoffUSA55.18
35Igor PolyanskyURS55.20
46Sergey ZabolotnovURS55.37
51Mark TewksburyCAN56.09
68Frank BaltruschGDR56.10
72Frank HoffmeisterFRG56.19
87Sean MurphyCAN56.32