| Event type

200 metres Freestyle, Women

Date21 July 1996
LocationGeorgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Participants42 from 35 countries

Franziska van Almsick, one of the last products of the East German sports system, had won four Olympic medals as a 14-year-old at Barcelona in 1992. By 1996 she was a genuine superstar in her native Germany and was reigning World Champion in this event – her win at the 1994 World Championship was a rare victory for the rest of the world in a championship of Chinese dominance. This made van Almsick a clear favourite to win the event though some doubts, specifically about her sometimes erratic performances in heat swims, still remained. The German swimmer actually produced one of her best qualifying swims in Atlanta and was the fastest of the eight qualifiers.

The second fastest qualifier was Claudia Poll of Costa Rica, who was the current short course world champion at the distance. To everyone’s surprise Poll took the lead from the German at 75 metres and was never headed as she sped away to take her country’s first ever Olympic gold. This completed a unique double for the Poll family as her sister Sylvia had won Costa Rica’s only other Olympic medal eight years earlier. After the race Van Almsick commented “I think I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere. There were so many people there, all yelling - I’m not used to that.”

Poll got into trouble with the Olympic authorities for wearing sponsors logos on her swimming cap and teeshirt. She was given a warning by the IOC for breaching the Olympic Charter. She returned to win more medals in 2000 and, after serving a drug suspension, also competed in 2004

PosSwimmerNOCR1B FinalFinal
1Claudia PollCRC1:59.87 (1 h5)1:58.16 (1)Gold
2Franziska van AlmsickGER1:59.40 (1 h6)1:58.57 (2)Silver
3Dagmar HaseGER2:00.38 (3 h5)1:59.56 (3)Bronze
4Trina JacksonUSA2:00.29 (2 h5)1:59.57 (4)
5Susie O'NeillAUS2:00.89 (1 h4)1:59.87 (5)
6Cristina TeuscherUSA2:00.57 (2 h6)2:00.79 (6)
7Julia GrevilleAUS2:00.44 (4 h5)2:01.46 (7)
8Luminița DobrescuROU2:00.85 (5 h5)2:01.63 (8)
9Martina MoravcováSVK2:00.99 (2 h4)2:00.96 (1)
10Suzu ChibaJPN2:01.11 (3 h4)2:01.00 (2)
11Louise JöhnckeSWE2:01.13 (3 h6)2:01.37 (3)
12Solenne FiguèsFRA2:02.74 (6 h5)2:01.47 (4)
13Karen PickeringGBR2:01.46 (4 h6)2:02.58 (5)
14Tonia MachairaGRE2:03.21 (1 h3)2:03.19 (6)
15Dionne BainbridgeNZL2:02.69 (4 h4)2:03.20 (7)
16Joanne MalarCAN2:03.53 (5 h4)2:03.79 (8)
17Chen YanCHN2:03.32 (5 h6)1
18Paula HarmokiviFIN2:03.54 (2 h3)
19Kristýna KyněrováCZE2:03.63 (6 h4)
20Naoko ImotoJPN2:03.78 (7 h4)
21Olena LapunovaUKR2:04.07 (7 h5)
22Tatyana LitovchenkoRUS2:04.09 (6 h6)
23Shan YingCHN2:04.29 (8 h4)
24Malin NilssonSWE2:04.39 (8 h5)
25Lorena DiaconescuROU2:04.59 (7 h6)
26Sandra CamBEL2:04.90 (1 h2)
27Marion MadineIRL2:04.92 (3 h3)
28Carolyn AdelSUR2:05.04 (2 h2)
29Ana AlegriaPOR2:05.16 (4 h3)
30Heleen MullerRSA2:05.59 (3 h2)
31Ravee Intaporn-UdomTHA2:05.77 (4 h2)
32Lee Ji-HyeonKOR2:05.78 (5 h2)
33Inha BorodichBLR2:05.85 (6 h2)
34Rania El-WaniEGY2:06.94 (5 h3)
35Chang Wei-ChiaTPE2:06.97 (6 h3)
36Mia MuusfeldtDEN2:07.29 (8 h6)
37Maritza ChiawayPER2:07.80 (7 h2)
38Chantal StrasserSUI2:07.98 (7 h3)
39Joscelin YeoSGP2:08.10 (8 h3)
40Teresa MoodieZIM2:08.23 (1 h1)
41Laura PetrutytėLTU2:09.78 (2 h1)
42Marina ZarmaCYP2:10.85 (3 h1)

Round One (21 July 1996)

Fastest eight advanced to the final. Places 9-16 advanced to the B Final.

Heat One (10:00)

15Teresa MoodieZIM2:08.230.79
24Laura PetrutytėLTU2:09.780.81
33Marina ZarmaCYP2:10.850.92

Heat Two (10:07)

14Sandra CamBEL2:04.900.78
21Carolyn AdelSUR2:05.040.77
35Heleen MullerRSA2:05.590.73
46Ravee Intaporn-UdomTHA2:05.770.80
53Lee Ji-HyeonKOR2:05.780.85
62Inha BorodichBLR2:05.850.83
77Maritza ChiawayPER2:07.800.90

Heat Three (10:14)

12Tonia MachairaGRE2:03.210.79q
24Paula HarmokiviFIN2:03.540.84
38Marion MadineIRL2:04.920.74
41Ana AlegriaPOR2:05.160.87
55Rania El-WaniEGY2:06.940.77
66Chang Wei-ChiaTPE2:06.970.83
73Chantal StrasserSUI2:07.980.87
87Joscelin YeoSGP2:08.100.78

Heat Four (10:21)

16Susie O'NeillAUS2:00.890.88Q
23Martina MoravcováSVK2:00.990.84q
34Suzu ChibaJPN2:01.110.81q
41Dionne BainbridgeNZL2:02.690.77q
52Joanne MalarCAN2:03.530.85
68Kristýna KyněrováCZE2:03.630.84
77Naoko ImotoJPN2:03.780.80
85Shan YingCHN2:04.290.98

Heat Five (10:28)

14Claudia PollCRC1:59.870.95Q
25Trina JacksonUSA2:00.290.68Q
33Dagmar HaseGER2:00.380.83Q
46Julia GrevilleAUS2:00.440.77Q
57Luminița DobrescuROU2:00.850.81Q
61Solenne FiguèsFRA2:02.740.78q
78Olena LapunovaUKR2:04.070.88
82Malin NilssonSWE2:04.390.83

Heat Six (10:35)

14Franziska van AlmsickGER1:59.400.81Q
25Cristina TeuscherUSA2:00.570.81Q
32Louise JöhnckeSWE2:01.130.84q
47Karen PickeringGBR2:01.460.81q
53Chen YanCHN2:03.320.85q
61Tatyana LitovchenkoRUS2:04.090.83
76Lorena DiaconescuROU2:04.590.87
88Mia MuusfeldtDEN2:07.290.87

B Final (21 July 1996 — 19:40)

14Martina MoravcováSVK2:00.960.78
25Suzu ChibaJPN2:01.000.82
33Louise JöhnckeSWE2:01.370.79
47Solenne FiguèsFRA2:01.470.77
56Karen PickeringGBR2:02.580.77
61Tonia MachairaGRE2:03.190.81
72Dionne BainbridgeNZL2:03.200.75
88Joanne MalarCAN2:03.790.88

Final (21 July 1996 — 19:30)

15Claudia PollCRC1:58.160.92
24Franziska van AlmsickGER1:58.570.81
36Dagmar HaseGER1:59.560.83
43Trina JacksonUSA1:59.570.70
58Susie O'NeillAUS1:59.870.83
67Cristina TeuscherUSA2:00.790.82
72Julia GrevilleAUS2:01.460.79
81Luminița DobrescuROU2:01.630.77