ROME, Italy, July 26. THE Netherlands came through as the favorites, edging Germany for the women's 400 free relay gold medal and world record at the FINA World Championships.
Inge Dekker (53.61), Ranomi Kromowidjojo (52.30), Femke Heemskerk (53.03) and Marleen Veldhuis (52.78) won the race in 3:31.72 to lower their world record of 3:33.62 set in 2008.
Germany gave the gold medal a serious go as Britta Steffen (52.22), Daniela Samulski (53.49), Petra Dallmann (53.75) and Daniela Schreiber (52.37) finished second in 3:31.83, also under the world record. Steffen's 100 free leadoff smashed her individual global mark of 52.56 set last month.
Australia's Libby Trickett (52.62), Marieke Guehrer (53.60), Shayne Reese (53.25) and Felicity Galvez (53.54) placed third in 3:33.01.
The U.S. contingent of Amanda Weir (54.47), Dara Torres (53.72), Christine Magnuson (53.86) and Dana Vollmer (53.18) finished outside the podium with a fourth-place time of 3:35.23.