Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 15, 2008
Date Finished: August 17, 2008
Prior to 2004 only the controversial East German team had broken the American dominance of this event. That all changed in Athens when the Australians broke through to win their first title and by Beijing they had built on this to emerge as world champions, world record holders and clear favourites to retain the Olympic title.
After the USA had make a strong start it was the performance of Australia's individual breaststroke champion Leisel Jones that was to prove the difference between gold and silver. Whilst the silver medal winning Americans recorded better times on three of the four legs this could not make up for the 1.4 seconds that Jones pulled out over Rebecca Soni. In a fitting finale to the women's programme both teams were comfortably under the pre-existing world record. China broke the Asian record in 3rd whilst Great Britain's European record for 4th meant that 4 continental records fell in the final.