Australia was the defending Olympic champion in the 4x100m medley relay at the Beijing Games as Leisel Jones, Libby Trickett and Jessicah Schipper (heat) returned from their victory in Athens to race alongside 16-year-old Emily Seebohm making her Olympic debut. In Beijing, Seebohm, Tarnee White, Felicity Galvez and Shayne Reese qualified the team fastest for the final.
With pressure on her shoulders to get the defending champions off to a good start, Seebohm swam a strong backstroke leg and from there the result was never in doubt after Leisel Jones surged to the lead in the second leg. Schipper in the butterfly and Trickett in the freestyle finished off the opposition. The winning time of 3:52.69 shattered the existing world record, set by Australia in 2007, by just over three seconds and surpassed the winning time at Athens by 4.63 seconds. Dara Torres, for the second-placed United States, first swam at an Olympic swimming meeting at Los Angeles 1984, eight years before Emily Seebohm was born. China finished third.
Seebohm was looking to make a name for herself in the individual 100m backstroke at the London 2012 Games and she got off to a perfect start as she broke the Olympic record in winning her heat. She went on to qualify fastest for the final but was beaten by Missy Franklin of the USA by 0.35 seconds. Her Olympic record time in the heat of 58.23 would have won her gold in the final by 0.1 seconds.
She went on to compete in the 4x100m medley relay final alongside Leisel Jones, Alicia Coutts and Mel Schlanger where she claimed her second silver medal of the Games when Australia finished second to the USA who broke the world record in the process of taking home the gold.
Earlier in the meet Seebohm swum in the heats of the 4x100m freestyle relay which Australia went on to win gold in in the final.
Four years later in Rio, Seebohm took home silver in the 4x100m medley, Australia’s sixth consecutive Olympic medal in this event. The quartet of Seebohm, Taylor McKeown, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell combined to clock a time of 3:55.00. The Aussies snuck into second place by just 0.01 of a second, relegating Denmark to bronze in 3:55.01 while the USA took top spot in 3:53.13.
In her individual events she finished 7th in the 100m backstroke and placed 6th in her 200m backstroke semi-final.