Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 23, 1988
Date Finished: September 23, 1988
Madame Butterfly was back â [Mary T. Meagher]. Mary T. had dominated butterfly swimming from 1979 through the 1984 Olympics, setting a world record of 57.93 in this event at the 1981 US Nationals, a mark that would last until 1999. But she was no longer the dominant swimmer she had been in her prime, although she had won the 200 fly at the 1986 World Championship.
The best female swimmer in Seoul was East German [Kristin Otto]. She had already won the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke and added a third gold in the freestyle relay. In this event she would add another gold, making her four-for-four. Her time of 59.00 was the second fastest ever in the event, but over a full second behind Meagher's world record. Meagher was not a factor, placing seventh in the final. She would manage a bronze in the 200 butterfly two days later in Seoul and then retire after the 1988 Olympics. Silver in the event went to Otto's teammate [Birte Weigang], who would also win silver in the 200 fly in 1988. The bronze medalist, [Qian Hong] of China, would return in four years and win the gold medal in Barcelona.
Otto would end the Seoul Olympics with six gold medals in six events, a record for women in the Olympics in any sport. She is the only swimmer to win golds in three different strokes at the Olympic Games.