Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue(s): Bernat Picornell Pools, Barcelona
Date Started: July 30, 1992
Date Finished: July 30, 1992
[Melvin Stewart] was the clear favorite, having dominated the event since Seoul, winning the 1991 Worlds and 1989 and 1991 Pan Pacific meets, and setting the world record at the 1991 Pan Pacs. The final was not close as Stewart lived up to expectations. He took the lead early and was never headed, going ahead of world record pace for 150 metres, but he struggled slightly coming home, finishing in 1:56.26, the fourth fastest performance ever.
Behind him, the silver went to New Zealand’s [Danyon Loader], who was a surprise just to make the final, having a PR of only 2:01.29 prior to the Olympics, and it took 1:59.96 just to qualify for the final. But it was the prelude to a great swimming career, as Loader would return in 1996 and win both the 200 and 400 freestyles. Bronze medalist [Franck Esposito] (FRA) was not a surprise as he had won the 1991 European Championships. He would win this event at the 1993 World and win it three times more at the Europeans. He would also swim in three more Olympics, but this would be his only medal.