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Thu Apr 24 10:26:23 SAST 2014

Australia women get Olympic record to win 4x100 freestyle gold

Sapa-AFP | 29 July, 2012 10:420 Comments
(L-R) Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlangerof Australia celebrate with their gold medals during the medal ceremony for the women's 4x100m freestyle relay on day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 28, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Al Bello / Getty Images

Australia won the Olympic gold medal in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay on Saturday.

The Netherlands finished second while the United States claimed bronze at the Olympic Park’s Aquatics Centre.

Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger clocked an Olympic record of 3:33.15, just holding off a Dutch team of Inge Dekker, Marleen Veldhuis, Femke Heemskerk and rising freestyle sprint star Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

Kromowidjojo poured it on, but the Dutch settled for silver in 3:33.79 with the US quartet of Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt earning bronze in 3:34.24.

Schlanger said she was “speechless” to find Australia atop the podium.

“We’re still pinching ourselves,” Schlanger said. “We have looked up at the Dutch, they have been so strong in this event for so long and we tried to lift the bars ourselves.

“We have some really good depth, the girls who swam the heats did a really good job for us and this wouldn’t have happened without them.” 

Natalie Coughlin’s swim in the heats for the United States meant she shared that bronze, taking her career tally of Olympic medals to 12, equalling fellow swimmers Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the most of any US woman Olympian.

Meanwhile rising star Missy Franklin, 17, claimed a first Olympic medal, expected to be one of many as she tackles seven events at these Games.

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