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

The men's 400 metre breaststroke was a swimming event held as part of the swimming at the 1912 Summer Olympics programme.[1] 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.

Men's 400 metre breaststroke
at the Games of the V Olympiad
DatesJuly 8–12
Competitors17 from 10 nations
1st place, gold medalist(s) Walter Bathe  Germany
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Thor Henning  Sweden
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Percy Courtman  Great Britain
← 1904
(440 yd)
1920 →

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(*)   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.

Quarterfinal 1Edit

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

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Thor Henning   Sweden 6:52.4 Q, OR
2 George Innocent   Great Britain 7:07.8 Q
Josef Wastl   Austria DNF
Oszkár Demján   Hungary DQ (6:35.8)

Quarterfinal 2Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Paul Malisch   Germany 6:47.0 Q, OR
2 Lennart Lindroos   Finland 7:03.0 Q
3 Nils Andersson   Sweden 7:17.0
Mike McDermott   United States DQ (7:07.0)

Quarterfinal 3Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Wilhelm Lützow   Germany 6:49.8 Q
2 Félicien Courbet   Belgium 6:52.6 Q
3 Zeno von Singalewicz   Austria 7:04.0 q
4 Frank Schryver   Australasia 7:07.8

Quarterfinal 4Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Percy Courtman   Great Britain 6:43.8 Q, OR
2 Arvo Aaltonen   Finland 6:48.8 Q
3 Vilhelm Lindgrén   Finland 7:12.6

Quarterfinal 5Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Walter Bathe   Germany 6:34.6 Q, OR
2 Georgy Baimakov   Russian Empire 7:28.6 Q


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

Semifinal 1Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Walter Bathe   Germany 6:32.0 Q, OR
2 Thor Henning   Sweden 6:32.0 Q, OR
3 Percy Courtman   Great Britain 6:36.6 q
4 Félicien Courbet   Belgium 6:59.8
Zeno von Singalewicz   Austria DNF
Georgy Baimakov   Russian Empire DNS

Semifinal 2Edit

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
1 Wilhelm Lützow   Germany 6:44.6 Q
2 Paul Malisch   Germany 6:47.6 Q
3 Arvo Aaltonen   Finland 6:56.8
4 Lennart Lindroos   Finland 7:02.4
George Innocent   Great Britain DNF


Friday July 12, 1912:

Rank Swimmer Nation Time Notes
  Walter Bathe   Germany 6:29.6 OR
  Thor Henning   Sweden 6:35.6
  Percy Courtman   Great Britain 6:36.4
4 Paul Malisch   Germany 6:37.0
Wilhelm Lützow   Germany DNF


  1. ^ "Swimming at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games: Men's 400 metres Breaststroke". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2016.


  • Bergvall, Erik (ed.) (1913). Adams-Ray, Edward (trans.). (ed.). The Official Report of the Olympic Games of Stockholm 1912. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 29 January 2007.