Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): London Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: July 28, 2012
This event was considered wide open with the medals expected to be contested among Australia, the defending gold medalists, the Netherlands, and the United States. The USA led the final early, with opening legs by Missy Franklin (53.52) and Jessica Hardy (53.53). On the third leg Australian Brittany Elmslie put her team in the lead, and Melanie Schlanger extended the lead with a 52.65 final 100 to bring home the gold medal. The USA was not able to hold onto silver, as the Netherlands, which had been last after the first leg, came home strongly on the back of Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who had the fastest split of the event with a finishing 51.93 which brought the Dutch team a silver medal.
For the United States, Natalie Coughlin had swum in the prelims which earned her a bronze medal. It was the 12th Olympic medal of her vaunted career, tying the Olympic female record for swimmers held by Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson.