Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Women's 200 metre backstroke
|Women's 200 metre backstroke|
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
|Venue||Beijing National Aquatics Center|
|Date||August 14, 2008 (heats)|
August 15, 2008 (semifinals)
August 16, 2008 (final)
|Competitors||35 from 24 nations|
|Winning time||2:05.24 WR|
After claiming three silver medals at these Games, Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry stormed home on the final lap to defend her Olympic title in the event. She posted a time of 2:05.24 to crush a world record set by U.S. swimmer Margaret Hoelzer from the Olympic trials one month earlier. Meanwhile, Hoelzer added a silver to her hardware from the 100 m backstroke, when she touched the wall in 2:06.23, the second-fastest effort of her career. Japan's Reiko Nakamura managed to repeat a bronze from Athens four years earlier, in an Asian record of 2:07.13.
Russia's top favorite Anastasia Zuyeva finished fourth with a time of 2:07.88, and was followed in the fifth spot by American teenager Elizabeth Beisel, aged 16, in 2:08.23. Elizabeth Simmonds set a new British record of 2:08.51 to earn a sixth spot, while Aussies Meagan Nay (2:08.84) and Belinda Hocking (2:10.12) closed out the field. Notable swimmers missed out the top 8 final, featuring Russia's Stanislava Komarova, silver medalist in Athens, and British top favorite Gemma Spofforth.
Before her breakthrough final, Coventry broke one of the oldest Olympic records earlier in the prelims. She posted a top-seeded time of 2:06.76 to lead 34 other swimmers in the race, slashing four-tenths of a second (0.40) off the record set by Hungary's three-time Olympic champion Krisztina Egerszegi from Barcelona in 1992.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Margaret Hoelzer (USA)||2:06.09||Omaha, United States||5 July 2008|
|Olympic record||Krisztina Egerszegi (HUN)||2:07.06||Barcelona, Spain||31 July 1992|
The following new world and Olympic records were set during this competition.
|August 14||Heat 4||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||2:06.76||OR|
|August 16||Final||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||2:05.24||WR, OR|
|1||3||Elizabeth Beisel||United States||2:07.90||Q|
|3||4||Elizabeth Simmonds||Great Britain||2:08.96||Q|
|4||8||Gemma Spofforth||Great Britain||2:09.19|
|6||6||Melissa Ingram||New Zealand||2:09.70|
|2||5||Meagen Nay||Australia||2:08.09||Q, OC|
|3||6||Margaret Hoelzer||United States||2:08.25||Q|
|2||Margaret Hoelzer||United States||2:06.23|
|5||5||Elizabeth Beisel||United States||2:08.23|
|6||1||Elizabeth Simmonds||Great Britain||2:08.51||NR|
- "Olympic Swimming Schedule". USA Today. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Evans, Simon (15 August 2008). "Coventry's silver mine seeded with gold". Reuters. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
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- Kelley, Steve (16 August 2008). "Margaret Hoelzer wins silver in backstroke". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- Lohn, John (15 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Kirsty Coventry Wins 200 Back in World Record Fashion". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- Paxinos, Stathi (16 August 2008). "Coventry wins backstroke gold". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- Lohn, John (14 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Kirsty Coventry Dominates 200 Back Prelims, Sets Olympic Record". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- Harris, Beth (16 August 2008). "Americans Hoff, Ziegler fail in 800 free heats". USA Today. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- Borzi, Pat (6 July 2008). "As records change by the minute, the women's 800 stays standing". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2008.