Olympics, Swimming: Netherlands Claims Gold Medal in Women's 400 Freestyle Relay With Olympic Record -- August 9, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 10. IT entered as the favorite, thanks to a world record at the European Championships. And, the Dutch lived up to their billing. The quartet of Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Marleen Veldhuis stole the show with an Olympic record of 3:33.76, not far off their world mark of 3:33.62.

Seventh after Dekker's leg, Kromowidjojo pulled the Netherlands into second, allowing Heemskerk the chance to move into the top spot. She obliged with a split of 53.42 and handed the anchor duties to Veldhuis, who cruised in 52.58, the third-fastest split of the event.

The United States, buoyed by Dara Torres' split of 52.44 (second-fastest ever), grabbed the silver medal in 3:34.33, ahead of the Australians, who were carried by Lobby Trickett and her split of 52.34, fastest in history. The Aussies were clocked in 3:35.05 and were followed in fourth by China (3:35.64).

Natalie Coughlin led off for the U.S. in 54.00 and Lacey Nymeyer (53.91) and Kara Lynn Joyce (53.98) followed before Torres took to the pool. The way the 41-year-old opened her meet, maybe a gold medal is doable in the 50 free. Trickett, meanwhile, rounded out a relay that included Cate Campbell (54.43), Alice Mills (54.43) and Melanie Schlanger (53.85). Campbell has been more than a second faster and Coughlin has been .70 quicker.

Germany occupied the fifth spot in 3:36.85 and was followed by France (3:37.68), Great Britain (3:38.18) and Canada (3:38.32).

Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming

Premium Members - Search More About: Marleen Veldhuis

Reaction Time Comments

August 10, 2008 Wow, is it too late to talk Torres into doing the 100? She's the medal contender, not Coughlin judging from this race. Campbell's way off her game too so far. Hopefully just opening day jitters.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 10, 2008 Coughlin has been .61 faster (:53.39 American Record at Santa Clara behind Campbell's :53.30). While it is easier to calculate for the lead-off performer, Coughlin was in the same ballpark "off" as both Nymeyer (:53.91 compared to flat start :54.02 in 100 final at Trials -- with "standard" .7 relay take-off allowance that would be :53.32, .59 faster than her finals swim on this relay) and Joyce (:53.98 compared to :54.13 leading off prelim relay -- with the same adjustment of .7 her prelim leadoff would have been :53.43, .55 faster than her finals swim on this relay).

We lost the event by .57, with our lead three legs .61, .59 and .55, respectively, off their best performances. If any one of our under age 40 athletes had done a best time by at least 0.02 seconds, we'd have tied or won Gold outright. Just one of them. Dara did her best to carry them but couldn't quite do it.
Submitted by: dunc1952
August 10, 2008 Yeah that is a good analysis dunc1952; I gave KLJ a little slack due to her stomach flu and Nymyer for first Olympic jitters (I think it's her first right?) but Coughlin was the real disappointment; her 100 free times tend to go up and down during the big meets and I'm not sure why she's erratic like that. Hope she'll do better in the other relays, and obviously her individual events if she wants to medal. Maybe they should all pay the big bucks to have Dara's entourage walk on them and mash their muscles everyday ;-)
Submitted by: liquidassets
Reaction Time responses do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Swimming World Magazine or
Reaction Time is provided as a service to our readers.

Free Download:
Download Free Olympic Issue Now!