Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Date Started: July 26, 1992
Date Finished: July 31, 1992
Participants: 641 (384 men and 256 women) from 92 countries
Youngest Participant: Judit Kiss (12 years, 184 days)
Oldest Participant: Gilles Coudray (36 years, 263 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 4 medals
Most Medals (Country): United States (27 medals)
Much had changed since the Olympic flame flickered and died at the end of the [1988 Seoul Olympics]. East Germany, who had ruled the female side of the sport with an iron hand for a generation, was no more and the unified German team was no match for their illustrious, if controversial, forerunners. The depth of the American team ensured they returned home with the greatest bounty in terms of medals gained though it lacked the multiple gold medal winning superstars of previous years. On the other hand the post-Soviet Unified Team produced two of the male stars of the Games in freestylers Aleksandr Popov and Yevgeny Sadovy. Sadovy was the only male swimmer to win three gold medals whilst Popov claimed four medals including two gold.
The golden generation of Hungarian swimmers improved on their display in Seoul and, spearheaded by triple gold winner Krisztina Egerszegi and medley legend Tamás Darnyi, they were much more successful than more established swimming nations. This was also the year of the Chinese breakthrough and, after Zhuang Yong shocked world record holder Jenny Thompson to win China's first Olympic title in the sport, another three Chinese women followed Zhuang onto the top step of the podium.
Australian swimmers did not live up to expectations in Barcelona with the exception of Kieren Perkins who produced a barnstorming swim in the 1500 metres freestyle to break the world record and win gold by a full 12 seconds.
The most popular win of the Games came in the 200 metres backstroke where world champion Martin López-Zubero, American-born of Spanish parentage, thrilled the host nation with a late length sprint to claim Spain's first Olympic swimming championship.