Hickman, who at one stage was two lengths ahead of compatriot Stephen Parry and Norris and just off world record pace, ran out of steam with only a few metres to go.
Norris touched home first in a new Commonwealth Games record time of one minute 56.95 seconds, while Parry nudged ahead of Hickman to take silver in 1:57.71.
Hickman took bronze in 1:58.55.
There was a big surprise in the women's 200m individual medley when Zimbabwe's KirstyLeigh Coventry took gold from lane eight.
Coventry created a huge lead going into the breaststroke phase and was expected to fade in the closing stages but she stayed strong to finish in a time of two minutes 14.53 seconds.
Australia's Jennifer Reilly who finished second had initially been disqualified for an incorrect turn but was reinstated into the silver medal position after an Australian team protest.
It meant defending champion Marianne Limpert took the bronze after receiving the silver medal in the awards ceremony after the race.
Her Canadian team-mate Elizabeth Warden was relegated from the bronze medal to fourth after Reilly's reinstatement.