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Aussie Women Smash the World Record in the 400m Medley Relay  -- August 21, 2004 aussie wr medley relay

By Stephen J. Thomas

ATHENS, August 21. THE Aussie women reinforced their claim to being the strongest women's team in the world today with a convincing win over their American rivals tonight in the 400 meter medley relay, the final women's event in these Olympic Games. In doing so, they carved almost a full second off the world record set by the American team in Sydney four years ago.

More significant is the fact that it was the first time in history that the Aussie women have won the Olympic 400 medley relay. Only the USA and the former GDR had previously won the event. The Aussies have taken the silver on five occasions.

Tonight it was crucial that the Aussies stay with the Yanks in the backstroke leg. World record-holder Natalie Coughlin certainly made it hard by clocking 59.68, an Olympic record and the second fastest time in history. After the backstroke leg, the Aussies found themselves in fourth place behind the Japanese and Germans, despite Giaan Rooney swimming 1:01.18, an Aussie national record.

Then it was Amanda Beard for team USA splitting 1:06.32 for the breaststroke to add to the USA's lead. Leisel Jones swam a 1:06.50 moving the Aussies into second.

At the halfway mark the Americans were well under world record-pace at 2:06.00, while Australia's 2:07.68 was exactly on the WR pace set by the US in 2000.

The third leg was crucial to the race. Petria Thomas, probably in her last long course swim in Aussie colors, was pumped to finish on a high. She faced another veteran, one Jenny Thompson by name, who had missed a medal in the 50 free earlier in the evening.

Thompson went 58.81, a strong showing but well off her best. Thomas, the individual gold medalist in the 100 fly, blasted an amazing 56.67 -- easily the fastest in history -- to move the Aussies in front leaving Jodie Henry, the new world record-holder, to go up against Kara Lynn Joyce for the final freestlye leg.

The Aussies looked unbeatable with Henry swimming anchor. She sped to the wall in 52.97 seconds, the second fastest split of all-time (behind her own 52.95 in the 4x100m freestyle relay). When she hit the pads, Australia became the proud owner of a brand new world record, 3:57.32.

The USA was second, 1.8 seconds behind in 3:59.12 and the Germans maintained third to finish in a European record at 4:00.72.

Petria Thomas, veteran of three Olympic Games for the Aussies, summed up the teams feelings. "I wasn't worried about catching Jenny (Thompson), having these three girls with me, I knew that if we all swam well, we'd be alright. Regardless of the result, we'd all be happy. That's the way I saw it in my head was the way we swam it."

"Our women's team has come a long way in the past four years. I am proud I was able to be a part of it - not leading the way, just being a part."

"I've come away with 3 gold medals and one silver. I can't believe this. I had hoped for one gold but this is amazing."

Backstroker Giaan Rooney, said of her responsibility to give the team a good start. "I know I was the team liability in the team tonight. I just had to do my job. I would have been disappointed not to have done a PB. It is exciting to have the faith in the three girls behind me."


Women 4 x 100m Medley Relay Finals

Record Splits NOC Location Date
WR 3:58.30 1:01.39 2:07.68 3:04.93 3:58.30 USA Sydney (AUS) 23 SEP 2000
OR 3:58.30 1:01.39 2:07.68 3:04.93 3:58.30 USA Sydney (AUS) 23 SEP 2000


Final Event No: 31

Rank Lane NOC Name R.T. 50m 100m Time Time
Behind
1 4 AUS 3:57.32 WR
ROONEY Giaan 0.71 30.04 1:01.18 (4) 1:01.18
JONES Leisel 0.24 30.94 1:06.50 (2) 2:07.68
THOMAS Petria 0.37 26.54 56.67 (1) 3:04.35
HENRY Jodie 0.28 25.61 52.97 (1) 3:57.32

2 5 USA 3:59.12 1.80
COUGHLIN Natalie 0.60 29.07 (OR) 59.68 (1) 59.68
BEARD Amanda 0.19 31.20 1:06.32 (1) 2:06.00
THOMPSON Jenny 0.26 27.43 58.81 (2) 3:04.81
JOYCE Kara Lynn 0.19 25.78 54.31 (2) 3:59.12

3 3 GER 4:00.72 3.40 EU
BUSCHSCHULTE Antje 0.66 29.56 1:00.72 (2) 1:00.72
POEWE Sarah 0.27 31.45 1:07.08 (3) 2:07.80
van ALMSICK Franziska 0.30 27.15 58.54 (3) 3:06.34
GOTZ Daniela 0.30 26.13 54.38 (3) 4:00.72

4 2 CHN 4:03.35 6.03
CHEN Xiujun 0.59 29.68 1:02.00 (6) 1:02.00
LUO Xuejuan 0.27 31.89 1:08.82 (6) 2:10.82
ZHOU Yafei 0.22 27.10 58.10 (4) 3:08.92
ZHU Yingwen 0.08 25.61 54.43 (4) 4:03.35

5 7 JPN 4:04.83 7.51
NAKAMURA Reiko 0.64 29.56 1:01.05 (3) 1:01.05
TANAKA Masami 0.15 32.30 1:09.09 (4) 2:10.14
ONISHI Junko 0.21 27.87 59.14 (5) 3:09.28
NAGAI Tomoko 0.24 26.44 55.55 (5) 4:04.83

6 8 NED 4:07.36 10.04
LUIKEN Stefanie 0.73 31.36 1:04.83 (8) 1:04.83
BAANS Madelon 0.21 31.97 1:09.55 (8) 2:14.38
de BRUIJN Inge 0.28 26.80 58.85 (8) 3:13.23
VELDHUIS Marleen 0.12 25.24 54.13 (6) 4:07.36

7 1 ESP 4:07.61 10.29
ZHIVANEVSKAYA Nina 0.68 29.81 1:01.29 (5) 1:01.29
PEREZ Sara 0.27 33.24 1:10.62 (7) 2:11.91
PELAEZ Maria 0.37 28.27 1:00.74 (7) 3:12.65
ROUBA Tatiana 0.14 26.15 54.96 (7) 4:07.61

6 GBR DSQ
SEXTON Katy 0.76 30.70 1:02.36 (7) 1:02.36
BALFOUR Kirsty 0.12 31.98 1:07.98 (5) 2:10.34
LEE Georgina 0.36 28.31 59.63 (6) 3:09.97
EVANS Kathryn -0.05






Results: 2004 Olympic Games