World Championships, Day One Finals: Marrit Steenbergen Propels Netherlands To 4×100 Free Gold

Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands competes in the Women's Freestyle 200m Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 25th, 2023.
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

World Championships, Day One Finals: Marrit Steenbergen Propels Netherlands To 4×100 Free Gold

Marrit Steenbergen guided the Netherlands to the women’s 4×100 free title at the World Championships in Doha.

Shayna Jack had steered Australia into first at the final turn but Steenbergen came past her in 52.35 – the fastest split in the field – to take gold in 3:36.61.

Australia were second in 3:36.93 with Canada third in 3:37.95 with long-time leaders Poland fourth.

The Netherlands quartet of Kim Busch, Janna van Kooten, Kira Toussaint and Steenbergen broke Australia’s stranglehold, that has seen them win the last three world titles.

It was the first time since 2011 that the Dutch have topped the podium when they went on to claim the Olympic silver medal the following year in London and their first medal since Budapest 2017 when they won bronze.

Steenbergen said:

“I think to win the gold is beyond our expectations. We thought we could win a medal, we knew it was going to be really tough, but to get away with the gold, we did not expect that at all!

“The key to our success was to swim fast! We are very strong as a team, we try to be there beyond the blocks for each other, and I think that it brings something extra. That’s something we are really good at.”

Toussaint was completely shocked, saying:

“Wow! We knew we had a chance of winning a medal but I’m a little bit surprised and I am so happy and so proud of these three girls and of our team. Wow!”

For Jack, silver will spur her on to Paris 2024.

She said: ”

“We just wanted to come out and do our best, so coming home with the silver medal for our country is something we are proud of.

“There is nothing better than hurting, therefore we will be hurting for the next six months toward the Olympics.”

It was a seventh world relay medal for Ruck and her third in the 4×100 free following silver at Budapest 2022 and bronze at Gwangju 2019.

The 23-year-old said:

“Usually, I do not go last so it just gave me a little bit of nerves. I am just so grateful to share this moment. These guys just hyped me up and I just try to do the best I can for them.”

Katarzyna Wasick went 54.12 on the lead-off as Poland reached the 100m mark ahead of Australia and Italy.

They still led through 300m although Italy started to eat into the deficit and closed the gap to 0.65 at the final changeover with the Netherlands and Australia the next teams in pursuit.

Come the 350m mark and Jack had gone into the lead and it appeared that a fourth straight Australian title was on the cards.

However, that was without reckoning with Steenbergen, who was breathing to her right and seeing across to Jack, also breathing to her right.

She moved level with the Australian before moving past and into the wall for gold.

Jack split 52.64 as she claimed the 12th medal of her World Championships career with Taylor Ruck guiding Canada  from fifth to third.


Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x