The team of Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer and Linda MacKenzie won Australia’s first gold medal in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. Australia had qualified for the final with the sixth fastest time, but the heat swimmers of Felicity Galvez, Angie Bainbridge, Melanie Schlanger and Lara Davenport were replaced by a new quartet.
The result was still seen as somewhat of a surprise, with the highly fancied Americans finishing third behind Australia and China. The winning time of 7:44.31 shattered the old world record, held by the United States, by almost six seconds. The first four teams, with Italy in fourth place, swam inside the pre-race world record. The gold medal was Rice’s third at Beijing and she joined Betty Cuthbert (Melbourne 1956), Murray Rose (1956), Shane Gould (Munich 1972), Ian Thorpe (Sydney 2000), Jodie Henry (Athens 2004) and Petria Thomas (2004) as the only Australians to achieve the feat at one Olympic Games.
Bainbridge returned to Olympic competition at the London Games as a part of the silver medal winning 4 x 200m freestyle team. She swum in the heats alongside Brittany Elmslie, Jade Nielsen, and Blair Evans before Bronte Barratt, Mel Schlanger, Kylie Palmer and Alicia Coutts finished second, 1.49secs, behind the USA in the final.