Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue(s): Bernat Picornell Pools, Barcelona
Date Started: July 30, 1992
Date Finished: July 30, 1992
East German [Ute Geweniger] had set the world record in this event in 1981 and after 1982, only the 1984 ([Tracy Caulkins]) and 1988 ([Daniela Hunger]) Olympic winning performances had come within a second of her time of 2:11.73. The co-favorites in 1992 were China's [Lin Li], the 1991 World Champion, and American [Summer Sanders], second to Lin at 1991 Worlds, but the 1991 Pan Pac Champion in both IMs, and she had led the 1992 world lists with her Trials winning time of 2:13.10. Hunger was back as defending champion and had won the 1991 European title.
The final was an exciting race in which the lead went back-and-forth. Sanders, a butterfly specialist, went out slowly for her on the opening fly leg, but still led Lin by a shoulder. Lin then surged ahead on the backstroke, Sanders still close, and the two had opened 1Â½ seconds on the rest of the field. Sanders then used her breaststroke to surge ahead at 150 metres, but Lin almost made that up on her final turn. And Sanders could not match Lin on the freestyle, as Lin won gold in a world record 2:11.65, with Sanders recording the third-fastest time ever with 2:11.91. Hunger won bronze, but was over two seconds behind Sanders.