| Event type

400 metres Freestyle, Women

Date22 July 1996
LocationGeorgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Participants39 from 34 countries

Ireland’s Michelle Smith had already been a shock winner of the 400 metres individual medley at these Games but her appearance in the heats of the 400 metres freestyle was clouded by controversy. Smith’s original intention was to race in only four events at the Games but a fifth, this event, was added before the entry deadline. A number of countries protested Smith’s inclusion because her qualifying time has been set one day after the qualifying period closed. The Irish team managed successfully argued at the Court of Arbitration for Sport that, because the Atlanta Organising Committee had mistakenly sent out a memo stating that the Olympic qualifying period ran until June 20 and not the correct June 5, Smith’s time was valid for Olympic purposes.

Amazingly the qualifying heat was the first time that Smith had competed in an international race at the distance but she qualified in second place for the final. Missing from that final was Janet Evans, the American who had won the race in 1988 and finished second in 1992. She failed to reach the final after finishing only ninth fastest in the heats.

Dutchwoman Carla Geurts set the pace in the final and led until the halfway mark when the faded out of contention. Smith then took the lead and burned away the rest of the pack over the third hundred. Dagmar Hase, the defending champion from Germany, closed in on Smith over the final stages but it was not enough to deny the Irishwoman her second title of the Games.

PosSwimmerNOCR1B FinalFinal
1Michelle SmithIRL4:09.00 (2 h5)4:07.25 (1)Gold
2Dagmar HaseGER4:11.17 (2 h4)4:08.30 (2)Silver
3Kirsten VlieghuisNED4:11.04 (1 h4)4:08.70 (3)Bronze
4Kerstin KielgaßGER4:08.99 (1 h5)4:09.83 (4)
5Claudia PollCRC4:12.07 (1 h3)4:10.00 (5)
6Carla GeurtsNED4:11.18 (3 h4)4:10.06 (6)
7Eri YamanoiJPN4:13.40 (3 h5)4:11.68 (7)
8Cristina TeuscherUSA4:12.20 (4 h4)4:14.21 (8)
9Sarah HardcastleGBR4:14.50 (5 h4)4:14.13 (1)
10Sandra CamBEL4:17.35 (6 h5)4:14.94 (2)
11Lin Chi-ChanTPE4:17.18 (6 h3)4:15.74 (3)
12Emma JohnsonAUS4:14.13 (3 h3)4:15.79 (4)
13Suzu ChibaJPN4:16.07 (4 h3)4:16.60 (5)
14Dionne BainbridgeNZL4:16.47 (4 h5)4:16.79 (6)
15Hayley LewisAUS4:17.02 (5 h3)4:16.92 (7)
16Carla-Creola NegreaROU4:16.89 (5 h5)4:17.08 (8)
17Janet EvansUSA4:13.60 (2 h3)1
18Irene DalbyNOR4:19.34 (7 h5)
19Itziar EsparzaESP4:19.45 (6 h4)
20Andrea SchwartzCAN4:19.46 (7 h3)
21Olga ŠplíchalováCZE4:20.04 (7 h4)
22Mirjana BoševskaMKD4:21.27 (1 h2)
23Nadezhda ChemezovaRUS4:21.33 (2 h2)
24Laëtitia ChouxFRA4:21.39 (1 h1)
25Britt RaabyDEN4:21.46 (2 h1)
26Ravee Intaporn-UdomTHA4:21.93 (3 h1)
27Martina MoravcováSVK4:22.10 (8 h3)
28Alicia BarrancosARG4:22.11 (3 h2)
29Chen YanCHN4:22.55 (8 h5)
30Carolyn AdelSUR4:22.66 (4 h2)
31Jeong On-RaKOR4:23.35 (5 h2)
32Martina NemecAUT4:23.72 (4 h1)
33Paula HarmokiviFIN4:23.84 (6 h2)
34Tonia MachairaGRE4:24.05 (5 h1)
35Chantal StrasserSUI4:24.49 (7 h2)
36Maritza ChiawayPER4:27.11 (6 h1)
37Ana AlegriaPOR4:27.19 (8 h2)
38Judit KissHUN4:29.80 (7 h1)
39Marina ZarmaCYP4:32.15 (8 h1)
DNSMalin NilssonSWE– (DNS h4)

Round One (22 July 1996)

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

Heat One (10:00)

16Laëtitia ChouxFRA4:21.390.80
24Britt RaabyDEN4:21.460.84
37Ravee Intaporn-UdomTHA4:21.930.92
41Martina NemecAUT4:23.720.83
55Tonia MachairaGRE4:24.050.81
63Maritza ChiawayPER4:27.110.93
72Judit KissHUN4:29.800.97
88Marina ZarmaCYP4:32.151.00

Heat Two (10:08)

11Mirjana BoševskaMKD4:21.270.79
24Nadezhda ChemezovaRUS4:21.330.90
33Alicia BarrancosARG4:22.110.87
48Carolyn AdelSUR4:22.660.79
56Jeong On-RaKOR4:23.350.84
62Paula HarmokiviFIN4:23.840.83
77Chantal StrasserSUI4:24.490.86
85Ana AlegriaPOR4:27.190.95

Heat Three (10:16)

14Claudia PollCRC4:12.070.96Q
25Janet EvansUSA4:13.600.84q
32Emma JohnsonAUS4:14.130.91q
46Suzu ChibaJPN4:16.070.78q
53Hayley LewisAUS4:17.020.76q
67Lin Chi-ChanTPE4:17.180.82q
78Andrea SchwartzCAN4:19.460.75
81Martina MoravcováSVK4:22.100.81

Heat Four (10:24)

16Kirsten VlieghuisNED4:11.040.86Q
24Dagmar HaseGER4:11.170.98Q
35Carla GeurtsNED4:11.180.89Q
43Cristina TeuscherUSA4:12.200.83Q
57Sarah HardcastleGBR4:14.500.81q
68Itziar EsparzaESP4:19.450.83
71Olga ŠplíchalováCZE4:20.040.98
DNS2Malin NilssonSWE

Heat Five (10:32)

15Kerstin KielgaßGER4:08.990.78Q
24Michelle SmithIRL4:09.000.83Q
33Eri YamanoiJPN4:13.400.84Q
48Dionne BainbridgeNZL4:16.470.80q
57Carla-Creola NegreaROU4:16.890.86q
61Sandra CamBEL4:17.350.80
72Irene DalbyNOR4:19.340.82
86Chen YanCHN4:22.550.86

B Final (22 July 1996 — 19:40)

15Sarah HardcastleGBR4:14.130.77
28Sandra CamBEL4:14.940.80
31Lin Chi-ChanTPE4:15.740.79
44Emma JohnsonAUS4:15.790.94
53Suzu ChibaJPN4:16.600.79
66Dionne BainbridgeNZL4:16.790.78
77Hayley LewisAUS4:16.920.80
82Carla-Creola NegreaROU4:17.080.89

Final (22 July 1996 — 19:30)

15Michelle SmithIRL4:07.250.83
26Dagmar HaseGER4:08.300.86
33Kirsten VlieghuisNED4:08.700.83
44Kerstin KielgaßGER4:09.830.83
57Claudia PollCRC4:10.000.97
62Carla GeurtsNED4:10.060.75
78Eri YamanoiJPN4:11.680.87
81Cristina TeuscherUSA4:14.210.91