Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 13, 2008
Date Finished: August 15, 2008
In front of a home crowd at the 2007 World Championships Libby Trickett had produced a fine swim to defeat Marleen Veldhuis for the world title. She reinforced her status as favourite firstly by breaking the world record to qualify for the Australian team and then by winning the 100 metre butterfly gold medal earlier in the week. Therefore it came as a huge shock when she was only was 9th fastest in the semi-final and was seemingly eliminated from contention.
Trickett was then given a reprieve when it was announced Pang Jiaying had been disqualified from a false start and she crept into the final as the slowest qualifier. The Australian blazed a trial and, swimming from an outside lane, led the race almost from the first stroke. In last place at the turn was European champion Britta Steffen of Germany but from then on the race completely changed. Steffan took a second out of the Australian in the last 50 minutes and in the last few strokes overhauled her rival to claim the Olympic title. She would later add the 50 freestyle title and would win the same two events at the 2009 World Championships.
|3||Natalie Coughlin||25||United States||USA||Bronze|
|5||Jeanette Ottesen Gray||20||Denmark||DEN|
|8||Fran Halsall||18||Great Britain||GBR|
|12||Lacey Nymeyer||22||United States||USA|
|21||Lize-Mari Retief||21||South Africa||RSA|
|26||Hannah Wilson||19||Hong Kong||HKG|
|31||Jana Klusáčková||30||Czech Republic||CZE|
|32||Jang Hui-Jin||21||South Korea||KOR|
|34||Quah Ting Wen||15||Singapore||SIN|
|43||Nieh Pin-Chieh||20||Chinese Taipei||TPE|