Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 22, 1988
Date Finished: September 22, 1988
The United States had easily won this at the 1987 Pan Pacs over China, but that was the B race since the GDR (East German) swimmers were not there. East Germany was not the defending Olympic champion, only because they joined the 1984 boycott, but they were the world record holders, had won the 1986 World Championships by a huge margin over the USA, and had won the last six European Championships. Kristin Otto opened for the GDR with a 55.11, leading American Mary Wayte by 0.77 seconds. Katrin Meißner then moved ahead by 1.72 seconds at the 200 metre mark and the rout race was over but the rout was on. On the third leg it was more of same for East Germany, but although well back, the Netherlands closed on the United States, as Conny van Bentum brought the margin for silver to only 8/100ths at the anchor exchange. On the final leg, [Karen Brienesse] swam the eighth fastest 100 relay split ever, 55.04, to bring the Netherlands home for the silver medal, with the United States trailing for third as China placed fourth. Van Bentum commented, “We thought we would be battling for third with China. We were really, really excited that we got second.” The East Germans missed their world record by 6/100ths.