Kirsty Coventry Wins 200 Backstroke, Earns Zimbabwe’s First-Ever Swimming Gold

By Stephen J. Thomas

ATHENS, August 20. UNTIL now, the name Kirsty Coventry was hardly a household name outside the collegiate swimming circuit in the USA.

The 20-year-old, who trains at Auburn under Dave Marsh, has had only one podium finish in international competition, winning the 200IM at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. She also finished 18th in the same event at the Sydney Olympics as a tender 16 year-old.

Tonight she is the toast of Southern Africa, the greatest athlete in Zinbabwe's history.

Coventry led from start to finish tonight, but the field was tightly bunched at the 100 with any one of five women in position to take it all.

Russian favorite, Stanislava Komarova, who got a terrible start and was last at the 50, had clawed her way into fifth in that leading group at the halfway mark, and appeared to have her heart set on the gold.

Nonplussed, Coventry was having none of it. She just kept on keeping on, derailing the Moscow Express.

Using her impressive stamina, Coventry pulled away from the pack to take the gold medal in 2:09.19.

The battle for the minor medals was close and, as often happens, reached a climax under the flags. German Antje Buschschulte started to tighten while in second place as Japan’s Reiko Nakamura moved up on her. But Komarova, taking long, easy strokes, slipped past both of them. Komarova took the silver in 2:09.72, edging Buschschulte and Nakamura, who tied for the bronze in 2:09.88.

American Margaret Hoelzer was in the mix for most of the race, but tired and fell to fifth in 2:10.70. British world champ Katy Sexton finished off the money in 2:12.11.

Coventry said after her race, "I am so excited. It has been a great week for me. I still can’t believe it yet. I’m so proud of the way I’ve represented my country here. I hope everyone at home is as excited as I am.”

They are, Kirsty.

Coventry who has also won a silver in the 100 back and bronze in the 200IM said of her three medals, “It’s been amazing to have the silver and bronze and it was like, if I could get one more it would be perfect.”

It's perfect.

Women 200m Backstroke Finals Final
August 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Phase Heats | Semifinals | Finals

Heat — – Final

Available Information — – Results Results Start List Start List Medals Medallists Other Records by Event Performers
RESULTS

Olympic Aquatic Centre – FRI 20 AUG 2004

Record Splits Name NOC Location Date
WR 2:06.62 30.55 1:02.34 1:34.79 EGERSZEGI Krisztina HUN Athens (GRE) 25 AUG 1991
OR 2:07.06 30.43 1:02.39 1:35.10 EGERSZEGI Krisztina HUN Barcelona (ESP) 31 JUL 1992

Event No: 28

Rank Lane Name NOC R.T. 50m 100m 150m Time Time
Behind
1 5 COVENTRY Kirsty ZIM 0.72 (1) 30.81 (1) 1:03.22
32.41 (1) 1:36.23
33.01 2:09.19
32.96 AF
2 4 KOMAROVA Stanislava RUS 0.81 (8) 31.54 (5) 1:04.03
32.49 (5) 1:36.96
32.93 2:09.72
32.76 0.53
3 3 NAKAMURA Reiko JPN 0.62 (3) 30.94 (3) 1:03.70
32.76 (4) 1:36.89
33.19 2:09.88
32.99 0.69
3 6 BUSCHSCHULTE Antje GER 0.62 (2) 30.82 (2) 1:03.30
32.48 (2) 1:36.28
32.98 2:09.88
33.60 0.69
5 2 HOELZER Margaret USA 0.69 (4) 31.20 (4) 1:03.93
32.73 (3) 1:36.88
32.95 2:10.70
33.82 1.51
6 7 OERNSTEDT Louise DEN 0.71 (5) 31.25 (6) 1:04.36
33.11 (6) 1:38.25
33.89 2:11.15
32.90 1.96
7 8 SEXTON Katy GBR 0.76 (7) 31.44 (7) 1:05.11
33.67 (8) 1:38.92
33.81 2:12.11
33.19 2.92
8 1 TERAKAWA Aya JPN 0.61 (6) 31.40 (8) 1:05.20
33.80 (7) 1:38.69
33.49 2:12.90
34.21 3.71

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Author: Archive Team

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