Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue(s): Bernat Picornell Pools, Barcelona
Date Started: July 29, 1992
Date Finished: July 29, 1992
China’s [Qian Hong] had won the silver medal in this event in Seoul and was favored in 1992, having won the 1991 World Championship. She was expected to be challenged by her teammate [Wang Xiaohong]. At the 1990 Asian Games the two had been the first butterflyers to break 59 seconds since [Mary T. Meagher]’s inviolate world record of 57.93 from 1981. But then at the US Olympic Trials, [Crissy Ahmann-Leighton] (58.61) and [Summer Sanders] (59.51) swam the two fastest times of the year, with Ahmann-Leighton posting a non-Meagher world record, and actually the second fastest time ever.
In the final Ahmann-Leighton exploded off the blocks and was ahead of her Trials pace at the wall, with the two Chinese in second and third. But Qian had much more left, racing home to win by about a hand over Ahmann-Leighton. Wang faltered near the end and was passed by France’s [Catherine Plewinski], the 1991 European Champion, for bronze.