Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 20, 1988
Date Finished: September 21, 1988
East German [Heike Friedrich] was the prohibitive favorite. She had won the 1986 World Championships in the current world record of 1:57.55, and was also 1987 European Champion. The only suspense seemed to be how big her margin would be and if she could better her record. The final was led early by the defending champion, American [Mary Wayte], trailed by her teammate, [Mitzi Kremer]. But Friedrich took control on the third lap, winning in 1:57.65, just off her world mark, with [Silvia Poll] placing second, which was the first Olympic medal ever won by a Costa Rican athlete. In 1996, her sister, [Claudia Poll], would win this event for the first gold medal ever for Costa Rica. The bronze medal went to Friedrich's teammate, [Manuela Stellmach]. The Americans fell back on the final laps, with Wayte placing fourth and Kremer sixth.