Her international career began in 1975 as a 15 -year-old by winning the world title in world record time 200m backstroke at the World Swimming Championships in 1975 in Cali. Also competing for the title, she was vice-world champion in the 100 meters backstroke distance.
At the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976, she won the 100m and 200m backstroke respectively silver behind Ulrike Richter, for which she was awarded the Patriotic Order of Merit in bronze. In the same year they also improved the world record over 400 meters individual medley and 200m backstroke. In the European Swimming Championships 1977 in Jönköping, Sweden, it was she in the 100 meters and 200 meters backstroke as well as with the 4 × 100 meter freestyle relay European champion.
In 1978 she was again three times Vice World Champion, before she in Moscow 200m backstroke won a last international medal with the bronze medal at the 1980 Olympic Games and her swimming career then ended.
After her career as a professional athlete, she was a dentist.
In the course of the GDR doping process and the related research and archival work-ups of the practices of the East German physician and sports officials have been found, among other doping plan-specifications by Birgit driver.