Yevgeny Sadovyi dominated competition in the men’s pool in Barcelona winning 3 gold medals and setting two world records. The 19-year old Russian, who competed under the flag of the ‘Unified Team,’ the name given to teams from the former Soviet Union, won the 200m freestyle, the 400m freestyle, and a team gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Sadovyi set a new world record in the 400m freestyle with a time of 3.45.00. The Russian smashed Australian Kieren Perkins previous record by 1.95seconds. Perkins was in the race and finished in silver medal position. Sadovyi then joined his 4x200m relay team-mates and helped break that world record too, with a time of 7.11.95.
Sadovyi broke a third Olympic record in the 200m freestyle event. Anders Holmertz of Sweden led the race until the final 50m when Sadovyi came past to take a third Olympic title. The Russian’s time of 1:46.70 was just 0.01 seconds off Giorgio Lamberti’s world record for the distance. Sadovyi had to settle for just a new Olympic record.
The Spanish press nicknamed Sadovyi ‘The Water King’ after his famous haul of Barcelona medals and the 19-year old returned home amid jubilant scenesto be greeted personally by Russia’s President Boris.’
In 1989 at the World Cup in East Germany, Sadovyi swam the 800m freestyle but famously stopped at 750 meters thinking the race was over. On realizing his mistake he rejoined the race, caught up with his competitors and still managed to finish an incredible second.