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Swimming legend Maria Lenk dead at 92

Maria Emma Hulda Lenk, a pioneer in the development of the butterfly stroke and the first South American woman to swim at the Olympics, died Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

Maria Emma Hulda Lenk, a pioneer in the development of the butterfly stroke and the first South American woman to swim at the Olympics, died Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

She was 92.

Lenk fell ill while swimming at the pool of theFlamengo club in the Brazilian city and was still conscious when taken to Copa D'Or Hospital.

She had a heart attack as doctors were preparing to operate to treat an aneurysm, the hospital said.

The Brazilian Olympic Committee declared three days of mourning for Lenk, who set world records in the 200- and 400-metre breaststroke and another in a relay.

Lenk, the daughter of German immigrants,was born in Sao Paulo and competed in her first Olympics in 1932 in Los Angeles.

Her best showing was the semifinals of the 200 breaststroke. She also raced in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.

Lenk returned for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, swimming the new "fly arm" stroke with a breaststroke kick, which later developed into the butterfly.

Her best effort was again the semifinals in the 200 breaststroke.

Lenk had hopes of winning an Olympic medal at the 1940 Tokyo Olympics, but they were cancelled because of the Second World War.