Sylvia Gerasch

Sylvia Gerasch (born 16 March 1969) is a former swimmer who competed for East Germany and Germany.

Sylvia Gerasch
Sylvia Gerasch in 1987
Personal information
Born (1969-03-16) 16 March 1969
Cottbus, East Germany
Height1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight62 kg (137 lb)
ClubBerliner SC,[1] SC Dynamo Berlin[2]


Gerasch was sixteen years old when she participated in the 1983 European Championships and placed second behind Ute Geweniger in the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke. In the subsequent European championships she won her first international title in the 100 m breaststroke.

At the 1986 World Aquatics Championships, she won the 100 m breaststroke and the 4×100 m medley relay, together with teammates Kristin Otto, Kathrin Zimmermann and Kornelia Gressler.[3][4] In October 1986, she was awarded a Star of People's Friendship in gold (second class) for her sporting success.[5]

Her first and only Olympic appearance was at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she competed for a unified Germany and finished eighth in the 100 m breaststroke; she was also part of the fourth-place German 4×100 m medley relay team.[1]


Dieter Lindemann was accused of giving Gerasch anabolics when she was thirteen years old.[6] Gerasch claimed that Lindemann gave her pink tablets which she did not take. She claimed that some competitors put the tablets in the aquarium, and that the female fish became more colourful like the male ones.[7]

Following a test at the European Sprint Swimming Championships 1993 in Gateshead[8] in November 1993,[9] Gerasch was suspended in January 1994 for two years for having 16 mg of caffeine, equivalent to six cups of coffee, in her blood compared to the permitted limit of 12 mg.[10] The German Swimming Association shortened the suspension for national competitions.[11] In November 1995, the compulsory ban for caffeine was reduced from two years to three months,[8] and in Autumn 2003, caffeine was removed from the list of banned substances.[9]


  1. Sylvia Gerasch Archived 4 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. Schwimmen – Deutsche Meisterschaften – Mannschaft.
  3. Willkommen im Berliner Schwimmverein Robben Berlin.
  4. Die Berliner Olympiateilnehmer.
  5. "Hohe staatliche Auszeichnungen verliehen" [Awarded high state awards]. Neues Deutschland (in German). 42 (243). 15 October 1986. p. 6. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  6. "Die Meister-Macher". Berliner Zeitung. Berlin Online. 19 March 1998. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  7. Ludwig; Mascolo (18 August 1997). "Das ist gut für die Zähne". Der Spiegel. Wissen Media Group. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  8. Johnson, William (4 September 1996). "German officials brew up storm in teacup with latest caffeine guidelines". The Standard. The Standard Newspaper Publishing. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  9. Schulze, Rolf-Günther (14 August 2008). "Wer Nein sagt, ist ein Sünder". WOZ. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  10. Emsley, John; Fell, Peter. What is caffeine and how does it work?. Was it something you ate?. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198509669.
  11. "Sylvia Gerasch kann weiter starten". Berliner Zeitung. Berlin Online. 1 September 1994. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
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