Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Olympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: December 4, 1956
Date Finished: December 6, 1956
Having smashed the world record twice in the previous eight weeks, and with all three individual medallists included in their quartet, it seemed implausible that any team other than the home nation of Australia would win the women’s relay in Melbourne.
Individual 100 m gold medallist Dawn Fraser faltered at the start when she mistakenly thought a false start had been called but recovered and gave the Aussies a healthy lead on leg one before newly crowned Olympic butterfly champion Shelley Mann dragged the USA back into the fray.
The race was effectively decided only on the final leg when 400 m champion Lorraine Crapp sprinted away into the distance. Despite the incident at the start Australia still beat the world record yet again. The time for the second place Americans was also under the old world record.