Swimming at the 1912 Summer Olympics – Men's 400 metre breaststroke

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Men's 400 metre breaststroke
at the Games of the V Olympiad
Venue Djurgårdsbrunnsviken
Dates July 8–12
Competitors 17 from 10 nations
Gold medal    Germany
Silver medal    Sweden
Bronze medal    Great Britain
(440 yd)
Swimming at the
1912 Summer Olympics
Sample picture of the event (unofficial)
100 m   men   women
400 m men
1500 m men
100 m men
200 m men
400 m men
Freestyle relay
4×100 m women
4×200 m men

The men's 400 metre breaststroke was a swimming event held as part of the swimming at the 1912 Summer Olympics programme. It was the second appearance of the event, which had been introduced (as the 440 yard breaststroke) in 1904. The competition was held from Monday July 8, 1912 to Friday July 12, 1912.

Seventeen swimmers from ten nations competed.

The final of the event was a rematch between the five swimmers who had competed in the final of the 200 metre race. Bathe won once again (and indeed, set a new Olympic record each time he raced in both breaststroke events), with Henning providing a stiff challenge in the semifinals. Neither Lützow nor Malisch were able to medal in the longer race, as Henning took silver and Courtman finished third.


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1912 Summer Olympics.

World Record  ?
Olympic Record 7:23.6(*) Germany Georg Zacharias St. Louis (USA) September 7, 1904

(*) 440 yards (= 402.34 m)

In the first heat Thor Henning set a new Olympic record with 6:52.4 minutes. Only to be improved in the second heat by Paul Malisch who swam 6:47.0 minutes. In the fourth heat Percy Courtman improved the Olympic record with 6:43.8 minutes. And again one heat later in the fifth run Walter Bathe swam 6:34.6. In the first semi-final Bathe and Henning bettered the record with 6:32.0 minutes. Bathe was able to improve the record in the final with 6:29.6 minutes.



Monday July 8, 1912: The top two in each heat advanced along with the fastest loser overall.

Heat 1

Oszkár Demján was disqualified, because he touched the wall with only one hand at the second turn.

Place Swimmer Time Qual.
1  Thor Henning (SWE) 6:52.4 QS OR
2  George Innocent (GBR) 7:07.8 QS
 Josef Wastl (AUT) DNF
 Oszkár Demján (HUN) (6:35.8) DSQ

Heat 2

Place Swimmer Time Qual.
1  Paul Malisch (GER) 6:47.0 QS OR
2  Lennart Lindroos (FIN) 7:03.0 QS
3  Nils Andersson (SWE) 7:17.0
 Mike McDermott (USA) (7:07.0) DSQ

Heat 3

Place Swimmer Time Qual.
1  Wilhelm Lützow (GER) 6:49.8 QS
2  Félicien Courbet (BEL) 6:52.6 QS
3  Zeno von Singalewicz (AUT) 7:04.0 qs
4  Frank Schryver (ANZ) 7:07.8

Heat 4

Place Swimmer Time Qual.
1  Percy Courtman (GBR) 6:43.8 QS OR
2  Arvo Aaltonen (FIN) 6:48.8 QS
3  Vilhelm Lindgrén (FIN) 7:12.6

Heat 5

Place Swimmer Time Qual.
1  Walter Bathe (GER) 6:34.6 QS OR
2  Georgy Baimakov (RUS) 7:28.6 QS


Thursday July 11, 1912: The top two from each heat and the faster of the two third place swimmers advanced.

Semifinal 1

Place Swimmer Time Qual.
1  Walter Bathe (GER) 6:32.0 QF OR
2  Thor Henning (SWE) 6:32.0 QF =OR
3  Percy Courtman (GBR) 6:36.6 qf
4  Félicien Courbet (BEL) 6:59.8
 Zeno von Singalewicz (AUT) DNF
 Georgy Baimakov (RUS) DNS

Semifinal 2

Place Swimmer Time Qual.
1  Wilhelm Lützow (GER) 6:44.6 QF
2  Paul Malisch (GER) 6:47.6 QF
3  Arvo Aaltonen (FIN) 6:56.8
4  Lennart Lindroos (FIN) 7:02.4
 George Innocent (GBR) DNF


Friday July 12, 1912:

Place Swimmer Time
1  Walter Bathe (GER) 6:29.6 OR
2  Thor Henning (SWE) 6:35.6
3  Percy Courtman (GBR) 6:36.4
4  Paul Malisch (GER) 6:37.0
 Wilhelm Lützow (GER) DNF


  • Bergvall, Erik (ed.) (1913). Adams-Ray, Edward (trans.)., ed. The Official Report of the Olympic Games of Stockholm 1912. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand. 
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 29 January 2007.