Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 9, 2008
Date Finished: August 10, 2008
When you arrive at the Olympic Games as the holders of the world record it seems a little perverse that almost every expert should have you down as no better than prospective bronze medallists but, faced with the might of the US and Australian teams, that was the fate that apparently awaited the Dutch relay team. The final was difficult to follow as teams used the strongest swimmers at differing stages of the race. Germany and Great Britain used their best women first and led after the opening leg but soon they faded and, with strong performances from the second and third swimmers, the Netherlands handed a healthy lead onto their anchor leg swimmer, Marleen Veldhuis. Australia and the USA attempted to claw back the gap but could make no more than token inroads into the Dutch lead. The Americans, with 41 year old Dara Torres on the final leg held off the challenge of the world champion Aussies to place second.