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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Women's 200 metres Butterfly

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Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 25, 1988
Date Finished: September 25, 1988

Gold: GDR Kathleen Nord
Silver: GDR Birte Weigang
Bronze: USA Mary T. Meagher

Summary

Mary T. Meagher, “Madame Butterfly,” was the defending champion. She had not been beaten at an international meet since 1982, and is considered the greatest butterfly swimmer of all-time. Her world record of 2:05.96 in this event, set in 1981, would not be bettered until 2000. Meagher had won the butterfly events at the 1987 NCAA meet and then took a brief retirement, although planning on returning for Seoul. She had struggled a few days earlier in the 100 fly, finishing only seventh, and her form was uncertain.\n\nThe other challengers were the East Germans Birte Weigang and Kathleen Nord. Weigang had won silver in the 100 fly, while Nord was the 1987 European Champion in this event, although she was primarily an IM swimmer, having won Worlds in 1986 400 IM. Weigang started the final at an insane pace, actually being 8/10ths ahead of Meagher’s world record pace at 100 metres. She would have nothing left, stating, “I simply couldn’t pull my arms through the water on the last lap,” although she would hang on for silver. The gold went to Nord, who finished quickly to win. Meagher was third throughout most of the race and that is where she would finish, ending her brilliant career with a bronze medal.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Kathleen Nord 22 East Germany GDR Gold
2 Birte Weigang 20 East Germany GDR Silver
3 Mary T. Meagher 23 United States USA Bronze
4 Stela Marian Pura 17 Romania ROU
5 Trina Radke 17 United States USA
6 Kiyomi Takahashi 22 Japan JPN
7 Wang Xiaohong 19 China CHN
8 Conny van Bentum 23 Netherlands NED
9 Mojca Cater 18 Canada CAN
10 Ina Beyermann 23 West Germany FRG
11 Gabi Reha 23 West Germany FRG
12 Svitlana Kopchykova 21 Soviet Union URS
13 Mette Jacobsen 15 Denmark DEN
14 Takayo Kitano 16 Japan JPN
15 Helen Bewley 20 Great Britain GBR
16 Lynne Wilson 19 Great Britain GBR
17 Donna Procter 18 Australia AUS
18 Sandra Neves 19 Portugal POR
19 Nevyana Miteva 18 Bulgaria BUL
20 Kim Su-Jin 14 South Korea KOR
21 Blanca Morales 18 Guatemala GUA
22 Mo Wanlan 14 China CHN
23 Marlene Bruten 19 Mexico MEX
24 Isabelle Arnould 17 Belgium BEL
25 Claire Supiot 20 France FRA
26 Chang Hui-Chien 18 Chinese Taipei TPE
27 Nguyễn Kiều Oanh 19 Vietnam VIE
AC r1/2 Donna McGinnis 19 Canada CAN DQ