Swimming at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's 100 metre freestyle

The men's 100 metre freestyle was one of six swimming events on the swimming at the 1908 Summer Olympics programme.[1] It was the shortest of the three individual freestyle events, as the 50 yard freestyle had been dropped after its one appearance on the 1904 Summer Olympics programme. The 100 metre event was contested for the third time after it had been held at the 1896 and 1906 Olympics. The 1904 Olympics saw a 100-yard event. The competition was held on Friday July 17, 1908 and Monday July 20, 1908.

Men's 100 metre freestyle
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
VenueWhite City Stadium
DatesJuly 17
July 20
Competitors34 from 12 nations
1st place, gold medalist(s) Charles Daniels  United States
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Zoltán Halmay  Hungary
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Harald Julin  Sweden
← 1904
(100 yd)
1912 →

Thirty-four swimmers from twelve nations competed. Each nation was limited to 12 swimmers.[2]

These were the first Olympic Games in which a 100-metre pool had been especially constructed (inside the main stadium's track and field oval). Previous Olympic events were swum in open water (1896: The Mediterranean Sea, 1900: The Seine River, 1904: an artificial lake).


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1908 Summer Olympics.

World Record 1:05.8   Zoltán Halmay Vienna (AUT) December 3, 1905
Olympic Record 1:22.2   Alfréd Hajós Athens (GRE) April 11, 1896 (NS)
1:13.0(*)   Charles Daniels Athens (GRE) April 26, 1906 (NS)
1:02.8(**)   Zoltán Halmay St. Louis (USA) September 5, 1904

(*) Intercalated Games

(**) 100 yards (91.44 m)

In the first heat Zoltán Halmay set a new Olympic record with 1:08.2. In the fifth heat Charles Daniels and in the seventh heat Wilfred Edwards equalized the standing world record of 1:05.8. Finally Charles Daniels set a new world record with 1:05.6 in the final.

Competition formatEdit

With a much larger field than in 1904, the 1908 competition expanded to three rounds: heats, semifinals, and a final. The 1908 Games also restored the wild-card system from 1900, allowing the fastest swimmers who did not win their heat to advance. The nine heats consisted of between 1 and 6 swimmers, with the winner of the heat advancing along with the fastest loser from across the heats (all tied swimmers advanced in the case of equal times). There were two semifinals, intended to be of 5 swimmers each but one of which actually had 6 due to a tie in the heats; the top 2 finishers in each semifinal (regardless of overall time) advanced to the 4-person final.[2]

Each race involved a single length of the 100 metre pool, with no turns. Any stroke could be used.



The fastest swimmer in each heat and the fastest loser advanced. Because there was a tie for fastest loser, both men advanced. Thus, 11 swimmers qualified for the semifinals.

Heat 1Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Zoltán Halmay   Hungary 1:08.2 Q, OR
2 Theodore Tartakover   Australasia Unknown
3–6 Davide Baiardo   Italy Unknown
Bouke Benenga   Netherlands Unknown
Harald Klem   Denmark Unknown
Herman Meyboom   Belgium Unknown

Heat 2Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Otto Scheff   Austria 1:11.8 Q
2 Addin Tyldesley   Great Britain 1:12.0 q
3–5 Gérard Meister   France Unknown
József Munk   Hungary Unknown
Conrad Trubenbach   United States Unknown

Heat 3Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Frank Beaurepaire   Australasia 1:11.6 Q
2 Lamme Benenga   Netherlands 1:13.2
3–5 Robert Andersson   Sweden Unknown
Henrik Hajós   Hungary Unknown
Poul Holm   Denmark Unknown

Heat 4Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Harald Julin   Sweden 1:12.0 Q
2 John Derbyshire   Great Britain 1:12.6
3–4 Victor Boin   Belgium Unknown
Robert Foster   United States Unknown

Heat 5Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Charles Daniels   United States 1:05.8 Q. =WR
2 József Ónody   Hungary 1:13.2
3 George Innocent   Great Britain Unknown
4–5 René André   France Unknown
Hjalmar Saxtorph   Denmark Unknown

Heat 6Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Harry Hebner   United States 1:11.0 Q
2 Paul Radmilovic   Great Britain 1:12.0 q
3–4 Edward Cooke   Australasia Unknown
Fernand Feyaerts   Belgium Unknown

Heat 7Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Wilfred Edwards   Great Britain 1:05.8 Q, =WR
2 Robert Zimmerman   Canada 1:35.0

Heat 8Edit

Dockrell had no competition in the eighth heat.

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 George Dockrell   Great Britain 1:13.2 Q

Heat 9Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Leslie Rich   United States 1:14.6 Q
2 André Duprez   Belgium 1:18.0


The fastest two swimmers from each semifinal advanced to the final.

Semifinal 1Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Zoltán Halmay   Hungary 1:09.4 Q
2 Harald Julin   Sweden 1:10.2 Q
3 Harry Hebner   United States 1:11.8
4 Frank Beaurepaire   Australasia Unknown
5–6 Wilfred Edwards   Great Britain Unknown
Paul Radmilovic   Great Britain Unknown

Semifinal 2Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Charles Daniels   United States 1:10.2 Q
2 Leslie Rich   United States 1:10.8 Q
3 George Dockrell   Great Britain 1:11.4
4 Otto Scheff   Austria Unknown
5 Addin Tyldesley   Great Britain Unknown


Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
  Charles Daniels   United States 1:05.6 WR
  Zoltán Halmay   Hungary 1:06.2
  Harald Julin   Sweden 1:08.0
4 Leslie Rich   United States Unknown


  1. ^ "Swimming at the 1908 London Summer Games: Men's 100 metres Freestyle". Sports Reference. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Official Report, p. 571.


  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report. London: British Olympic Association.
  • De Wael, Herman (2001). "Swimming 1908". Herman's Full Olympians. Retrieved 12 May 2006.