Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Aquatic Centre, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Athina
Date Started: August 18, 2004
Date Finished: August 19, 2004
|Silver:||Inge de Bruijn|
For the first time in a number of Olympic Games, the women's 100 metres freestyle looked to be an open event. [Inge de Bruijn] returned as defending champion but not as world record holder because of the performance of [Libby Lenton] in the semi-finals of the Australian Olympic Trials.
Also favoured to challenge were World Champion [Hanna-Maria SeppÃ¤lÃ¤] of Finland, Pan-Pacific title holder [Natalie Coughlin], newly crowned European Champ [Malia Metella] of France and [Jodie Henry] who had defeated Lenton in the final of the Australian trials.
The semi-finals were, to say the least, eventful as Henry established herself as favourite by taking a chunk out of Linton's world record. Linton herself failed to live to expectations and, along with SeppÃ¤lÃ¤, was forced to exit before even reaching the final.
Henry made a poor start to the final and trailed the field in the early stages. Recovering to fifth at 50 metres the Australian took the lead at the three-quarter mark and held off the challenge of de Bruijn to record a first Aussie win in the event since the glory days of [Dawn Fraser] 40 years earlier with Coughlin filling up the final place on the victory podium.