Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 14, 2008
Date Finished: August 16, 2008
Six weeks before the Beijing Olympics [Margaret Hoelzer], the 2007 world champion, took half a second off the world record at the US Olympic Trials in Nebraska. Her main rival for the Olympic title appeared to be the defending champion [Kirsty Coventry] of Zimbabwe whose record Hoelzer had broken. Coventry turned the event into a time trial and passed every 50 metre split under the existing world record. At the finish she was 0.8 of a second inside the previous mark and a second clear of Hoelzer with [Reiko Nakamura] repeating her performance of 2004 by claiming third place. Coventry, who had been world champion in 2005, regained her world title in 2009.