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Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Women's 200 metres Butterfly

Swimming at the 1988 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:

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

Gold: GDR Kathleen Nord
Silver: GDR Birte Weigang
Bronze: USA Mary T. Meagher

Summary

[Mary T. Meagher], "Madame Butterfly", was the defending champion. She had not been beaten at an international meet since 1982, and is considered the greatest butterfly swimmer of all-time. Her world record of 2:05.96 in this event, set in 1981, would not be bettered until 2000. Meagher had won the butterfly events at the 1987 NCAA meet and then took a brief retirement, although planning on returning for Seoul. She had struggled a few days earlier in the 100 fly, finishing only seventh, and her form was uncertain.

The other challengers were the East Germans [Birte Weigang] and [Kathleen Nord]. Weigang had won silver in the 100 fly, while Nord was the 1987 European Champion in this event, although she was primarily an IM swimmer, having won Worlds in 1986 400 IM. Weigang started the final at an insane pace, actually being 8/10ths ahead of Meagher's world record pace at 100 metres. She would have nothing left, stating, “I simply couldn't pull my arms through the water on the last lap,” although she would hang on for silver. The gold went to Nord, who finished quickly to win. Meagher was third throughout most of the race and that is where she would finish, ending her brilliant career with a bronze medal.

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