Swimming at the 2000 Summer Olympics – Women's 200 metre freestyle
|Women's 200 metre freestyle
at the Games of the XXVII Olympiad
|Venue||Sydney International Aquatic Centre|
|Date||September 18, 2000 (heats &
September 19, 2000 (final)
|Competitors||41 from 35 nations|
|Swimming events at the
2000 Summer Olympics
Australia's overwhelming favorite Susie O'Neill, dubbed as Madame Butterfly, gave the home crowd a further reason to celebrate, as she claimed the gold medal in the event. Rocketed to the boisterous chants of "Susie, Susie" by her swimming fans, O'Neill held off a challenge from Slovakia's Martina Moravcová to strengthen her lead on the final lap before hitting the wall first in 1:58.24. Moravcova trailed behind by a small fraction of a second to capture another silver at these Games in 1:58.32, while Costa Rica's Claudia Poll, defending Olympic champion, added a second bronze to her hardware from the 400 m freestyle, in a sterling time of 1:58.81.
Russia's Nadezhda Chemezova and Germany's Kerstin Kielgass tied for fourth place in a matching time of 1:58.86, finishing off the podium by just five-hundredths of a second (0.05). Belarus' Natalya Baranovskaya pulled off a sixth-place finish in a national record of 1:59.28, while Romania's Camelia Potec (1:59.46) and China's Wang Luna (1:59.55) closed out the field.
Notable swimmers failed to reach the top 8 final, featuring world-record holder Franziska van Almsick, who faded shortly on the final lap and finished eleventh in the semifinals; South Africa's Helene Muller, who posted a second-fastest prelims time (1:59.89) earlier but ended up only in ninth; and American duo Lindsay Benko and Rada Owen, both of whom earned a twelfth and a sixteenth spot, respectively.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Franziska van Almsick (GER)||1:56.78||Rome, Italy||6 September 1994|
|Olympic record||Heike Friedrich (GDR)||1:57.65||Seoul, South Korea||21 September 1988|
|3||2||Natalya Baranovskaya||Belarus||1:59.90||Q, NR|
|5||4||Helene Muller||South Africa||2:00.04|
|7||5||Lindsay Benko||United States||2:00.27|
|3||5||Claudia Poll||Costa Rica||1:59.63||Q|
|5||6||Franziska van Almsick||Germany||2:00.26|
|8||8||Rada Owen||United States||2:03.34|
|3||Claudia Poll||Costa Rica||1:58.81|
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- "Swimming star O'Neill retires". BBC Sport. 22 November 2000. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Sydney 2000: Swimming – Women's 200m Freestyle Heats" (PDF). Sydney 2000. LA84 Foundation. pp. 186–187. Retrieved 14 June 2013.