Birgit Meineke

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Birgit Meineke
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-Z0701-033, Birgit Meineke.jpg
Meineke with coach Rolf Gläser in 1981
Personal information
Full name Birgit Meineke
Nationality  East Germany
Born (1964-07-04) 4 July 1964 (age 53)
East Berlin, Germany
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Weight 68 kg (150 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Freestyle

Birgit Meineke (born 4 July 1964) is a retired East German swimmer. She was the fastest female swimmer in the 100 m freestyle between 1980 and 1984.[2]


Meineke was strongest in the early 1980s, winning a gold medal as part of the East German team for the 4×100 m freestyle relay in the 1981 European Aquatics Championships, as well as two silver medals in the same year for the 200 meter and 100 meter freestyle. In the same year, she also established a world record in the short course 100 m freestyle, with a time of 54.04 seconds.[3] While her performance at the 1982 World Aquatics Championships was similarly strong, the pinnacle of her career was a sweep of five golds at the 1983 European Aquatics Championships in Rome.

Meineke was unable to compete in the Olympics due to the boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics by 14 Eastern Bloc countries, including East Germany. However, she won several medals at the Friendship Games, including two gold medals as part of the teams for the 4×100 m freestyle relay and the 4×100 m medley relay, the latter of which broke a world record.[4] She ended her swimming career in that year, later becoming a general surgeon.

East German doping[edit]

Like many other East German female athletes, Meineke was subject to systematic administration of performance-enhancing drugs. These caused health problems for her in later life, including a liver tumor she attributed to the use of anabolic steroids and birth control pills.[5]

In 1998, former coach Rolf Gläser admitted to administering steroids to Meineke and her teammates and was fined $4000 for causing bodily harm.[2][5]


  1. ^ Birgit Meineke.
  2. ^ a b Lewis, Richard (6 July 2003). "Coaching row such a bitter pill to swallow". Sunday Times. p. 9. Retrieved 14 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ "ROUNDUP Swimming". The Globe and Mail. 21 December 1981. p. S.8. 
  4. ^ "Pool records set at Friendship '84". The Globe and Mail. 25 August 1984. p. S.7. 
  5. ^ a b Helmstaedt, Karin (2009). "Fear of the Future". Alexandria Masters Swimming. Retrieved 3 July 2011.