By John Lohn
MONTREAL, Canada, July 24. THERE was little doubt when the night started that the Australian women would be challenged in the 400 freestyle relay. Well, they did receive a bit of a tussle, but not enough to prevent a gold-medal celebration. Behind the quartet of Jodie Henry, Alice Mills, Shayne Reese and Lisbeth Lenton, the Aussies prevailed in a championship-record mark of 3:37.32.
Henry opened with a split of 54.45 and Mills followed with a leg of 53.96. While Reese only covered her 100 meters in 55.37, Lenton had an easy time holding off Germany, thanks to a split of 53.54. The Germans finished with a time of 3:38.24, made possible by balanced swims from the foursome of Petra Dallman, Antje Buschschulte, Annika Liebs and Daniela Gotz.
Leading off with Natalie Coughlin, the United States took bronze in 3:38.31. Coughlin had the fastest opening split, a 54.31, and was succeeded by Kara Lynn Joyce (55.22), Lacey Nymeyer (54.88) and Amanda Weir (53.90). The Netherlands was behind the U.S. in 3:39.37 and France notched fifth in 3:39.45. China (3:42.10), Sweden (3:42.93) and New Zealand (3:44.84) completed the field. The Netherlands’ Marleen Veldhuis had the fastest split, going 53.34.