Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Olympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: December 1, 1956
Date Finished: December 3, 1956
Barring 1948 when Japan did not participate, the last 30 years of the Olympic 4 × 200 metres freestyle relay had turned into a tussle between the Japanese and Americans for superiority.
Things were different in Melbourne as the host nation, who had qualified for the Olympic final since 1924, were blessed with a golden generation of freestylers as their victories in all three individual freestyle events would testify. Another quartet to mention was that of the Soviet Union who had caused a sensation by breaking the world record a month before the Games began.
Despite the performance of the Soviets, Australia were still considered favourites for the title as their strongest team consisted of four of the five fastest swimmers for 1956 over the 200 metre distance.
The Aussies did not disappoint the home crowd and produced a dominant performance in which they led from start to finish. They come home eight seconds clear of America and in a time which broke the Soviet Union’s record. The USA took home the silver medal with the Soviets back in third.