Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue(s): Bernat Picornell Pools, Barcelona
Date Started: July 30, 1992
Date Finished: July 30, 1992
The world record was still the 4:03.69 set by East Germany to win the 1984 Friendship Games in Moscow. But the drug-enhanced East German swimmers were no more, their swimming hegemony ended by the political dissolution of the two Germanies. Germany had not even won the 1991 Europeans, that going to the Netherlands. The United States was favored in Barcelona, having won the 1991 World Championship and Pan Pacifics, trailed at both races by Australia. The USA qualified only third fastest, behind the Unified Team and Germany, but they had used only their B team in the prelims. In the final Lea Loveless put the US well in front on the opening backstroke leg, splitting an American record 1:00.82, with Germany second, but 0.79 seconds behind. On the breaststroke leg, Russian [Yelena Rudovskaya] finished in 1:07.44, the second fastest ever breaststroke split, which almost caught the USA’s Anita Nall, and moved the Unifieds into second. Crissy Ahmann-Leighton then swam fly for the US, putting the race away, as Germany and the Unified Team settled into second and third. That is how they would finish, [Jenny Thompson] anchoring the Americans on freestyle for the gold medal, splitting 54.47 for the third-fastest split of all-time. The USA won in 4:02.54, breaking the world record which had been held by an East German team since 1973.