Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue(s): Bernat Picornell Pools, Barcelona
Date Started: July 31, 1992
Date Finished: July 31, 1992
[Summer Sanders] (USA) had won this event at the 1990 Goodwill Games, and the 1991 Worlds and Pan Pacs, and was favored in Barcelona. She was swimming an ambitious program in 1992, and had already faltered on the final laps of both individual medleys, although she won silver in the 200 and bronze in the 400 IM. She had also failed to medal in the 100 fly, and this was the last chance for individual gold at an Olympics which the American press had expected to be the Summer of Summer. And the prelims were led by Australian [Susie O'Neill], barely ahead of Sanders.
O'Neill set out at world record pace, and held that through 100 metres, leading China's [Wang Xiaohong], with Sanders third. That trio held through 150 metres, with O'Neill opening on Wang, but Sanders closing the gap. And on the final lap Sanders was the strongest coming home to win in 2:08.67, as O'Neill faded, and Wang barely touched her out for the silver. O'Neills had set such a fast pace that she pulled home the first seven finishers in personal bests.