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 wining 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.