Duncan John D'Arcy Armstrong

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Duncan John D'Arcy Armstrong

Birthplace: Rockhampton, QLD, Australia
Managed by: Nathan Luke Cowdrey
Last Updated:

About Duncan John D'Arcy Armstrong

Duncan John D'Arcy Armstrong, OAM, (born 7 April 1968) is a former Australian freestyle swimmer and Olympic medalist, who won a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

He was born in the Queensland city of Rockhampton, and attended the selective Brisbane State High School. He was coached by the flamboyant Laurie Lawrence, and made his debut in the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he won gold in the 400-metre freestyle and the 4×200-metre freestyle relay. However, the Australian selectors controversially rested him from the 200-metre event.

Armstrong arrived in Seoul as a rank outsider, facing the trio of past and current world record holders in the 200-metre event, Matt Biondi of the United States, Artur Wojdat of Poland and Michael Gross of West Germany. As a back-end swimmer, Lawrence devised a plan for Armstrong to swim as close to Biondi in the adjacent lane as possible, benefiting from Biondi's wake. It worked, with Armstrong storming home in the last fifty metres to claim gold with a world record time of 1 minute 47.25 seconds. Armstrong supporting Frontline Charity Appeal in 2008.

Later in the 400-metre, Armstrong was once again slow out of the blocks, turning last at the 100-metre mark, and still being second last at the 300-metre mark. However he stormed home, and in a photo finish, claimed the silver medal behind East Germany's Uwe Dassler. He had carved more than five seconds off his previous personal best. For his efforts, Armstrong was awarded the Young Australian of the Year award for 1988.

Armstrong attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he swam for coach Randy Reese's Florida Gators swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition in 1988 and 1989. He was named an All-American in the 400-metre and 800-metre freestyle in 1989.

Armstrong was again the favourite as the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland approached in 1990. However, a bout of glandular fever forced him to withdraw. He proceeded to compete at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics but was a shadow of his former self. He retired from competitive swimming after the Games. In June 1998, at the age of 30, he announced that he would come out of retirement and commence training for the 200-metre freestyle for the 2000 Summer Olympics, as Australia had won the 4×200-metre freestyle event in that year's World Championships, and were expected to win in Sydney, with the likes of Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Michael Klim. However, after two months of training, Armstrong announced that he would abandon his comeback and retire again. Australia proceeded to win the gold in the relay event by over five seconds.

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Duncan John D'Arcy Armstrong's Timeline

April 7, 1968
Rockhampton, QLD, Australia