Duncan Armstrong wins gold, from lucky lane 6, and Coach Laurie Lawrence is happy


In 1984 Australian [Jon Sieben], swimming in lane six, had won the 200 butterfly in a big upset over West German Michael Groß. When Australia’s Duncan Armstrong won this event in Seoul in the world record time of 1:47.25, his coach, Laurie Lawrence, shouted out, “That’s right, mate! Lucky lane 6!” Armstrong’s victory was one of the biggest upsets in Seoul, as he came into the Olympics ranked 46th in the world, after ranking 25th in 1987.

There were several contenders considered before the race, but Armstrong was not among them. Sweden’s Anders Holmertz had won the 1987 Europeans, while Groß was the 1986 World Champoin. Groß still held the world record, set when he won the 1984 Olympic gold medal. American Matt Biondi was formidable, but he was slightly better in the sprints. The fastest time in the prelims was set by Poland’s Artur Wojdat. In the final, Armstrong lined up next to Biondi in lane five. Armstrong swam as close to Biondi’s lane marker as he could, drafting in his wake for the first 100 metres. Biondi led at 150 with Holmertz second, but Armstrong came home the fastest for the gold medal, Holmertz in second and Biondi dropping back to bronze.

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