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Olympics, Swimming: Flash Australia Wins Women's 400 Medley Relay in World Record -- August 16, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 17. AS expected, Australia stormed to the gold medal in the women's 400 medley relay, setting a world record in the process. With four superb legs, the Australians were pegged as the favorites for gold long before the Beijing Games. And, they upheld their end of the bargain.

The quartet of Emily Seebohm, Leisel Jones, Jessicah Schipper and Libby Trickett combined for a time of 3:52.69 to destroy the former world mark of 3:55.74, set by the Aussies at last year's World Championships. Australia needed that world record as the United States also went under the former mark for silver in 3:53.30.


After Seebohm jumpstarted the Aussies with a backstroke split of 59.33, Jones unleashed a 1:04.58 clocking for the breaststroke. Schipper followed with a butterfly leg of 56.25 and Trickett closed the door by clocking 52.53 on the freestyle anchor. The Australians also won gold in the event at the Athens Games.

En route to silver, the United States received an American-record leadoff from Natalie Coughlin (58.94) on the backstroke leg. Rebecca Soni contributed a 1:05.95 effort for the breaststroke and Christine Magnuson added a 56.14 split on the butterfly. Dara Torres, coming off a silver medal in the 50 free, closed in 52.27.

The Chinese quartet of Zhao Jing, Sun Ye, Zhou Yafei and Pang Jiaying took the bronze medal in 3:56.11, an Asian record, and Great Britain set a European record of 3:57.50 for fourth place. Russia was fifth in 3:57.84 and Japan was sixth in 3:59.54. Canada took seventh in 4:01.35 and Sweden was disqualified for an early takeoff on an exchange.



Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming


Reaction Time Comments
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August 16, 2008 The splits from NBColympics.com showed the difference was the breast split. Jones with a 1:04.5! Otherwise, the Americans outsplit the Aussies....Still, what a phenomenal way to end the women's competition. A 3:52 is incredible!
Submitted by: paddles
August 16, 2008 Wow, can't wait to see what Torres will do in 2016!!! I guarantee you that she will have another one of her "Why/how is this over?!" moments now.
Submitted by: SwimDER94
August 16, 2008 Torres swam the fastest split in history at 52.2. That came just minutes after her 24.07. Just amazing. Good job by all of the USA members. Australia was always favored because of how balanced they are and in particular how far ahead of the field Jones is. That being said the flyers both went 56 low with Magnuson outsplitting schipper just barely. Natalie swam an American Record, Soni swam well. Congrats.
Submitted by: teamwiess
August 16, 2008 Who is Tessa's father? They never talk about him or show him.
Submitted by: crafto
August 16, 2008 Talk about an insanely awesome final swim from Dara!!!!!!! You guys need to add that standing of fastest 100 free relay split to the article :)
Submitted by: Ako
August 16, 2008 Soni's split was awesome too. Jones's was just... other worldly!!! But I'm proud of the USA team!
Submitted by: Ako
August 16, 2008 gahhh...leisel jones. 1:04.5 is just freaking incredible! gotta give props to dara for swimming out of her mind without her stretch posse.
Submitted by: lightbulb12
August 16, 2008 How about 16 yo Emily Seebohm - 59.33 split. She'll be really tough to beat at the next Olympics.
Submitted by: mario2007
August 16, 2008 Some great splits in there from the other teams: Spofforth 59.0, Zueva 59.1, Halsall 52.8, etc. But I think Torres 52.2 takes the cake even more than Jones 1:04.5. Torres partner is a doc named David Hoffman; he can't wait for the Olympics to be over so they can have a vacation. If he's not there then he's home with the baby. I highly doubt Torres would go for 2012 unless she wants to risk losing her partner! ;-) Congrats to Aussies and USA on both mens and womens relays; both great races. Soni was great but unless Jones retires; we need to find a breaststroker to challenge her in the 100!!
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 17, 2008 Great swim by the aussies and Jones in particular. I knew she would come back strong after losing out to Soni in the 200m. I just saw an interview with the aussie girls, apparently Dara leaned over to Libby and said she drafted off her the whole way and why not? lol. Just look at the time it got her.
Submitted by: coz
August 17, 2008 oh sorry I meant dragged off libby not drafted.
Submitted by: coz
August 17, 2008 Did Leisel Jones cheat or did Rebeccca Soni get a really bad start on her leg of the 400 medley relay? Natalie Coughlin soundly beat Emily Seebohm, yet it looked like Jones dove in before Soni. Can a more experienced observer of competitive swimming explain to me what happened at that transition? Thank you.
Submitted by: usaFanDave
August 17, 2008 Something looked wrong with the first relay touch, Coughlin touched first but Soni was the third swimmer in the pool. I think Sweden was DQ'd on that leg but did the others including the Aussie's have a false start? Or was Sonis' reaction time off?
Submitted by: friendlyfire
August 17, 2008 What about Coughlin? Another American Record (two for one) 6 medals in 6 races! Never been done before by a woman. Way to go Natalie!
Submitted by: coachmark
August 17, 2008 I hate to see dissapointment in the U.S. swimmers' faces when they get 2nd or 3rd. It is such an accomplishment to even medal at all in the Olympics. Mens and Womens relays were awesome. Still trying to figure ouy why Natalie 'hugs' that laneline tho. My daughter does the exact same thing :o)
Submitted by: RND
August 17, 2008 I agree, RND. The only thing I have difficulty with (as far as being an American in international competition) is that so many American athletes show disappointment with a silver or bronze medal either from the world championships or Olympic Games. I was happily surprised with Dara's reaction after winning the silver medal. Initially when she realized she LOST the gold by .01 you saw the disappointment. But when she realized that she had WON a silver medal AND swam a PB, THEN the happiness came to life and you saw it. I loved it.
Submitted by: paddles
August 17, 2008 If Natalie swam straight during that relay, I think she would have gone 58.5. I will also always wonder if Dara had swam the 100 free, if she could have won. Her splits in the relays indicate that she might have had a 53.0 or so in her. Magnuson could be a force in the 100 fly. I would love to see her get to the WR before Trickett.
Submitted by: crafto
August 18, 2008 Dara's split is fantastic, but saying it's more impressive than Jones' split is a bit of a stretch. Dara's now the fastest 100 free split of all-time by 0.07 over Libby's split from the 4*100 free relay, however Jones's split is 1.21 seconds faster than anyone else has ever swam in a relay, which is other-worldly...it's also where the Aussies broke open the race, making it the most pivotal split.
Submitted by: FatDrew
August 18, 2008 But Jones isn't 41... haha (although I agree, it was other worldly).
Submitted by: Ako
August 18, 2008 There is no question that the lane lane cost Natalie a World Record. Hopefully she will be able to get the record back soon... I can't wait to see what Soni and Magnuson do as they get older!
Submitted by: SwimDER94
August 18, 2008 usafandave: leisel jones didn't "cheat" on the relay takeover. if you look at the time, her takeoff was a little faster than soni (0.19 vs 0.28). and while coughlin swam a great time, so did a bunch of backstrokers from the other countries. her 58.94 was only fractionally ahead of great britain (59.05), russia (59.16) and a little further behind was australia (59.33). i can't remember what the changeover looks like, but if leisel seems like she went in faster, it is probably because she has a very flat dive. she just goes straight into the water and her underwater pullout is fantastic. leisel is known for her slow reaction time (in her individual races), but she always comes up in front in a matter of a few strokes. so i wouldn't be surprised if she made up for the 0.4s right off a good relay start.
Submitted by: tornado
August 22, 2008 imagine if libby swum the butterfly and cate campbell swum the freestlye since she looked to be back into career best form in the 50? does any1 think it could have been a possibility since schipper swum a 56 low. Imagine what libby would do
Submitted by: aussie
October 22, 2008 Campbell would not have swum a great 100. If Campbell was IN form she would have won the 50 free. She could fake it in the 50 because it is her pet event, and she's never internationally raced the 100.
Submitted by: Priyant
October 23, 2008 Campbell has internationally raced the 100! her best time is 53.30! for a 16 year old that is amazing
Submitted by: aussie
October 23, 2008 It was a small meet. Of course I know her PB is 53.30, but I meant she hasn't raced at a major meet before other than trials.
Submitted by: Priyant
October 28, 2008 since Jones might not go to the world champs in rome who is Australia's female breastroker? Tarnee White has retired.. Does anyone know of any other information? cuz obviously the breastroke leg was the deciding factor..

Submitted by: aussie
October 30, 2008 The best ones I can think of are Sarah Katsolis and Jade Edmistone (50 Breast WR-holder), but, in my opinion, neither can break 1:07. This will make it tough for Australia to win, but I think the Americans will be WAAAAY behind on the free, unless we keep Dara Torres for Rome. Nymeyer or Joyce can't go as fast as a Campbell/Trickett!
Submitted by: SwimDER94
October 30, 2008 Well how about Hoelzer or McGregory could do back, freeing up Couglin to anchor....
Submitted by: liquidassets
October 30, 2008 Unfortunately, Natalie said the only way she would be in Rome is as a spectator as she is taking a much needed rest from competition. So, no Coughlin on the relay in any way, shape or form.
Submitted by: paddles
October 31, 2008 Edmistone's PB is 1.07.03 but her career basically plateaued over the past 2 years after leaving the AIS. Future questionable. Katsoulis swam 1.07.58 at trials and looks to be going on. Sally Foster has a 1.08.4 PB but is stronger over 200 (2.24).Samantha Marshall looks to be the best of the v young ones coming through (100PB 1.08.42). Re US, isn't Coughling getting hitched soon, and planning on sitting out 09 at least ??
Submitted by: commonwombat
October 31, 2008 During the Sydney World Cup it was mentioned that Jones had just gotten back into the pool that week. She won't start serious training for around 3 months. Aus world selection trials are in March. She'll make the team if she wants to even if it is only with 2 months preperation. She's so far ahead that I think she can finish as one of the top 2 aussies in any of the breaststroke distances. I don't think her absebce will hurt the aussies too much with Coughlin and Torres not being there. Seebohm is at the age where she can hack huge chunks of her PB in every race and with Schipper training under Stephen Widmer now I'ld expect to see her going faster. Add Trickett and Campbell into the mix and I think they can afford the loss of Jones. At this point in time I think Katsoulis is the most inform of the aussie girls over the 100m. Marshall could be good in a few years but is stil a bit green. Trials are still 5 months away so you neevr know...
Submitted by: danlap
October 31, 2008 Seebohm is the one swimmer who I see making astronomical strides in the for the Aussie relay. She showed her promise in 2008, but like Coughlin in 2001, I think 2009 will be the coming out year for Emily with a 58-mid 100 back....maybe 58-low.
Submitted by: paddles
November 4, 2008 who said torres is going to retire?


Submitted by: aussie
November 4, 2008 yeah, I just read in Swimming World that she hasn't ruled out Rome trials yet, or even the next Olympic Trials...
Submitted by: liquidassets
November 10, 2008 Jones is not swimming in rome. http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,24630027-23218,00.html - should make things interesting.
Submitted by: aussie
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