SPLIT, Yugoslavia -- Ute Geweniger virtually turned the 15th European swimming championships into her own private exhibition week at the Poljud sports complex.
When the championships ended Saturday, the 17-year-old East German from Karl-Marx-Stadt had captured five gold medals and one silver and, just for good measure, had improved her 100 meters breaststroke world record to 1:08.60 from 1:09.39.
Her other golds, all comfortably claimed, came in the 200 meters breaststroke, the 100 meters butterfly, the 200 meters individual medley, and the 4 x 100 meters medley relay, where she was supported by three other gold medallists.
The only 'failure' for the popular swimmer came in the 400 meters individual medley, where her world record-holding compatriot Petra Schneider beat her into second place.
Many of the world and European world record-holders swimming in the indoor pool failed to match their best perfromances, but West Germany's Michael Gross, Alexander Sidorenko of the Soviet Union, Ines Diers of East Germany, Sandor Wladar of Hungary and the Soviet men's 4 x 100 meters freestyle and 4 x 100 meters relay teams all bettered European marks during the week.
The 17-year-old Gross, who lost his 12-month unbeaten tag in the men's 100 meters butterfly final by finishing third and then being disqualified, bounced back to clock 1:59.19 for the 200 meters butterfly, 15-l00ths of a second inside the old mark set by the Soviet Union's Sergei Fesenko, who took the bronze medal.
Sidorenko improved his own 200 meters individual medley record by 5-100ths of a second to 2:03.41 minutes. His teammates clipped21-100ths of a second off their month-old 4 x 100 meters freestyle record, now 3:21.48, in a race in which Sweden, 3:22.48, and West Germany, 3:22.67, took the silver and bronze medals, both in national record times.
The Soviet men's 4 x 100 medley relay squad improved its European record by 56-100ths of a second to 3:44.23 in equally dramatic fashion, with four of the other finalists also setting national records.
Diers claimed her record in a resounding triumph for East Germany in the women's 400 meters freestyle. Teammate Carmela Schmidt chased Diers all the way to the finish with the opposition trailing. Diers improved her own record by 18-100ths of a second to 4:08.48 minutes, and Schmidt also was inside the old mark at 4:08.71.
With the Soviet Union and East Germany dominating the swimming medals, any interruption to the sequence was acclaimed by the enthusiastic crowds.
Wladar received such an ovation twice in his two backstroke triumphs, the second time he added the glory of setting a European record of 2:00.80 for the 200 meters.
He beat the Soviet Union's Vladimir Shemetov in both the 100 meters and 200 meters backstroke.
All the Yugoslavs and most of the neutrals were on their feet later that afternoon cheering and stamping wildly as local favorite Borut Petric took on Soviet European record holder Vladimir Salnikov over 400 meters freestyle.
The Olympic champion from Leningrad led into the final length, but as the fans grew more frenzied, Petric clawed his way back to win by 4-100ths of a second in 3:51.63, within half a second of Salnikov's record.
Sweden's Per Arvidsson in the men's 100 meters freestyle was the only other swimmer to deny East Germany or the Soviet Union a gold medal.
It was the same story in the diving competition, where David Ambartsumian (platform), Alexander Portnov (springboard), and Zhanna Tsirulnikova (women's springboard) gave the Soviets three golds, with Katrin Zipperling taking the women's platform title for East Germany.
Austrian Nikola Stajkovich was the only western European to get a diving medal, the bronze in the men's springboard.
The waterpolo brought some relief for western Europe. West Germany beat Olympic champion Soviet Union midawy through the league-style tournament, and played superbly for the rest of the week to capture the gold medal. The Soviet Union took the silver ahead of Hungary.
The delicate art of synchronized swimming provided an opportunity for western Europe to turn the tables by denying the easterners any medals in the three events.
Britain's Carolyn Wilson captured a gold in all three sections, the solo, the duet, and the team event, with Holland and Austria producing most of the silver and bronze medal winners.
Despite that gesture of defiance, the end-of-tournament medals table was a sorry sight for the west. East Germany captured 15 of the 37 gold medals available, the Soviet Union 13, with the best Western effort being 3 golds by Britain - all in the synchronized swimming.
In all, the Soviet Union and East Germany took 61 of the 111 medals available.