Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): White City Stadium, London
Date Started: July 24, 1908
Date Finished: July 24, 1908
The finals saw four nations competing, all with rich swimming traditions, and all with a chance to win the relay gold medal. After one leg, Hungary's József Munk led by four yards in 2:40.8. Frank Beaurepaire (AUS) was 2nd with Rob Derbyshire 3rd (GBR) and Harry Hebner (USA) in last. Imre Zachár swam the second leg for Hungary and increased the lead, reaching 400 metres in 5:27.2, 8 yards ahead of Paul Radmilovic of Britain.
The third leg saw Hungary maintain its lead, with Béla von Las-Torres finishing 600 metres in 8:10.0, leading by 6 yards. But now in second was the United States, as Charlie Daniels swam a great leg to pass Britain's Willie Foster. They finished their legs, respectively, in 8:15.2 and 8:18.6. The race appeared to be over, with Hungary's redoubtable Zoltán von Halmay swimming their anchor leg. But mainly a sprinter, he went out far too fast, leading Leslie Rich (USA) by 15 yards after 700 metres, with Britain's Henry Taylor another 5 yards back. Taylor caught Rich with 50 metres left and pulled away from him. Halmay was now a shambles and swam into the wall only 20 metres from the finish, also allowing Taylor to pass him and win by 3 yards.