Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Men's 100 metre freestyle

The men's 100 metre freestyle event at the 2008 Olympic Games took place on 12–14 August at the Beijing National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China.[1]

Men's 100 metre freestyle
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
VenueBeijing National Aquatics Centre
DateAugust 12, 2008 (heats)
August 13, 2008 (semifinals)
August 14, 2008 (final)
Competitors64 from 55 nations
Winning time47.21
Alain Bernard  France
Eamon Sullivan  Australia
César Cielo  Brazil
Jason Lezak  United States

Alain Bernard stormed home on the final lap to claim France's first ever gold medal in the event with a time of 47.21.[2] Australia's world record holder Eamon Sullivan enjoyed a great start in the first 50 metres, but ended up with a silver in 47.32, just 0.11 of a second behind Bernard. U.S. swimmer Jason Lezak and Brazil's César Cielo tied for the bronze medal in a matching time of 47.67.[3][4]

Two-time defending champion Pieter van den Hoogenband finished the race in fifth place at 47.75. Although he missed an opportunity to attain a third straight triumph in the same event, Van den Hoogenband became the first ever swimmer to reach the final at his fourth Olympics. Four months later, he announced his retirement from the sport, ending an Olympic career with a total of seven medals, including three golds.[3][5][6]

Van den Hoogenband was followed in sixth by South Africa's Lyndon Ferns (48.04), and in seventh by Sullivan's teammate Matt Targett (48.20). After missing out the semifinals in Athens four years earlier, Sweden's Stefan Nystrand rounded out the finale to eighth place in 48.33.[3]

Earlier in the semifinals, Bernard and Sullivan exchanged world-record performances to set up a battle race for the final. Swimming in the first heat, Bernard delivered a time of 47.20 to erase a 0.04-second standard set by Sullivan during his lead-off leg in the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay. A few minutes later, Sullivan had taken back the record in the second semifinal at 47.05.[7][8]


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record Alain Bernard (FRA)47.50Eindhoven, Netherlands22 March 2008
Olympic record Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED)47.84Sydney, Australia19 September 2000

The following new world and Olympic records were set during this competition.

13 AugustSemifinal 1Alain Bernard France47.20WR, OR
13 AugustSemifinal 2Eamon Sullivan Australia47.05WR, OR



184Eamon Sullivan Australia47.80Q
285Stefan Nystrand Sweden47.83Q
376Brent Hayden Canada47.84Q
494Alain Bernard France47.85Q
586Pieter van den Hoogenband Netherlands47.97Q
678Milorad Čavić Serbia48.15Q, NR, WD
783César Cielo Brazil48.16Q
895Garrett Weber-Gale United States48.19Q
997Lyndon Ferns South Africa48.26Q
1073Filippo Magnini Italy48.30Q
1174Jason Lezak United States48.33Q
1296Matt Targett Australia48.40Q
1375Fabien Gilot France48.42Q
1482Andrey Grechin Russia48.50Q
1598Jonas Persson Sweden48.51Q
1677Dominik Meichtry Switzerland48.55Q, NR
88Christian Galenda ItalyQ
1893Yevgeny Lagunov Russia48.59
1971Yoris Grandjean Belgium48.82
2068George Bovell Trinidad and Tobago48.83
2156Martin Verner Czech Republic48.95
2265Albert Subirats Venezuela48.97NR
2381Joel Greenshields Canada49.04
2444Jason Dunford Kenya49.06
2561Chen Zuo China49.08
2645Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or Israel49.10
2791Jakob Andkjær Denmark49.25
2855Balázs Makány Hungary49.27
57Paulius Viktoravicius Lithuania
3087Ryk Neethling South Africa49.28
3146Peter Mankoč Slovenia49.33
3263Nabil Kebbab Algeria49.38
3392Steffen Deibler Germany49.39
3472Duje Draganja Croatia49.49
3562José Meolans Argentina49.50
3651Shaune Fraser Cayman Islands49.56
67Yuriy Yegoshin Ukraine
3864Mitja Zastrow Netherlands49.61
3941Ryan Pini Papua New Guinea49.72NR
4066Hisayoshi Sato Japan49.85
4143Matti Rajakylä Finland49.91
4234Virdhawal Khade India50.07
4352Martín Kutscher Uruguay50.08
4453Stanislau Neviarouski Belarus50.14
4554Tiago Venâncio Portugal50.30
4632Romāns Miloslavskis Latvia50.40
4733Terrence Haynes Barbados50.50NR
4848Aristeidis Grigoriadis Greece50.62
4958Örn Arnarson Iceland50.68
5042Norbert Trandafir Romania50.74
5147Danil Haustov Estonia50.92
5237Alexandr Sklyar Kazakhstan51.24
5326Jan Roodzant Aruba51.69
5436Lim Nam-gyun South Korea51.80
5531Petr Romashkin Uzbekistan51.83
5623Mikael Koloyan Armenia51.89
5722Gael Adam Mauritius52.35
5825Carl Probert Fiji52.37
5938Christopher Duenas Guam52.64
6024Roy-Allan Burch Bermuda52.65
6127Obaid Al-Jasmi United Arab Emirates53.29NR
6213Emile Bakale Republic of the Congo55.08
6314Miguel Angel Navarro Bolivia56.96
6415Sofyan El Gadi Libya57.89


Semifinal 1

15Alain Bernard France47.20Q, WR
24Stefan Nystrand Sweden47.91Q
32Jason Lezak United States47.98Q
46Lyndon Ferns South Africa48.00Q
53César Cielo Brazil48.07Q
68Christian Galenda Italy48.47
71Jonas Persson Sweden48.59
87Fabien Gilot France49.00

Semifinal 2

14Eamon Sullivan Australia47.05Q, WR
23Pieter van den Hoogenband Netherlands47.68Q, NR
37Matt Targett Australia47.88Q
42Filippo Magnini Italy48.11
56Garrett Weber-Gale United States48.12
65Brent Hayden Canada48.20
71Andrey Grechin Russia48.71
88Dominik Meichtry Switzerland49.58


5Alain Bernard France47.21
4Eamon Sullivan Australia47.32
7Jason Lezak United States47.67
8César Cielo BrazilSA
53Pieter van den Hoogenband Netherlands47.75
61Lyndon Ferns South Africa48.04
76Matt Targett Australia48.20
82Stefan Nystrand Sweden48.33


  1. "Olympic Swimming Schedule". USA Today. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  2. "France's Alain Bernard clinches 100m freestyle gold". France 24. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  3. Lohn, John (13 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Alain Bernard Captures 100 Free Gold". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  4. "Bernard pips Sullivan for 100m gold". ABC News. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  5. Linden, Julian (13 August 2008). "Van den Hoogenband hangs up his goggles". Reuters. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  6. "Ian Thorpe honours Pieter van den Hoogenband". Herald Sun. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  7. Lohn, John (12 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Flash Alain Bernard Reclaims World Record in Semifinal 1 of 100 Free, Eamon Sullivan Says Give Me That Back". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  8. Johanson, Simon (13 August 2008). "Sullivan smashes world record – again". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
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