Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Aquatic Centre, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Athina
Date Started: August 14, 2004
Date Finished: August 14, 2004
Not since the Melbourne Olympics of 1956 had Australia won the women's 4×100 metres freestyle relay. All subsequent editions had been won either by the United States or East Germany. The USA were still World Champions but their margin over the Aussies and Germans had shrunk to less than a second in 2003 and the Australian women had been extremely impressive at their own Olympic trials.
Germany held the lead after the first leg of the final but latterly slipped back and the stage was set for the expected showdown between Australia and America. New world record holder Libby Lenton put Australia in front at the 200 m mark but Amanda Weir responded to move the USA back into the lead after the third leg. The two anchor swimmers were America's Queen of the relays, Jenny Thompson, and the Commonwealth Games champion Jodie Henry for Australia. Henry, the younger swimmer by a decade, clawed back the advantage and helped Australia set a new world record in the bargain. After eight successive championship victories, this was the first defeat for Thompson in an Olympic relay final.