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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Women's 200 metres Backstroke

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Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 25, 1988
Date Finished: September 25, 1988

Gold: HUN Krisztina Egerszegi
Silver: GDR Kathrin Zimmermann
Bronze: GDR Cornelia Sirch


As a 12-year-old, [Krisztina Egerszegi] had débuted at the 1987 European Championships, placing fourth in the 200 back. A few days prior to this race she had placed second in the 100 back to East German wonder woman [Kristin Otto], and that gave her encouragement for the 200. But the favorite in this event was another East German, [Cornelia Sirch]. Sirch went to the 100 in the final with a slight lead over Egerszegi but the Hungarian teenager blitzed the third lap, and came home for the gold medal in the second fastest time ever, 2:09.29. Sirch was worn out from her early effort and was passed for silver by her teammate, [Kathrin Zimmermann], although Sirch held on for bronze.

Of Egerszegi, Sirch said, "I'm sure she has a great future before her. I'm certain she will break new ground in backstroke swimming." You could say that. This was the first of three consecutive gold medals in the event for Krisztina Egerszegi, something accomplished in a single Olympic event only by Australian sprint freestyler [Dawn Fraser] in the women's 100 free. She would eventually end her Olympic career with five individual gold medals, four in backstroke events, and seven medals in all, an unequalled Olymic best for swimming through 2008. She would win both backstrokes at the 1991 World Championships, and nine titles at the Europeans from 1991-95. In 1992 she won the Europeans in a world record 2:06.62, which would stand as the world record until 2008.

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