Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 15, 2008
Date Finished: August 17, 2008
The shortest race on the women's schedule is usually the most difficult to predict. The favourite appeared to be [Libby Trickett] of Australia who had won the 2007 World Championship and set the world record at the Australian trials but any of a dozen women could reasonably expect to challenge for the podium.
The 100 metre freestyle, held earlier in the week, changed the complexion of the race and the woman who won that race, Germany's [Britta Steffen] was now considered the woman to beat. The eight women who reached the final were an eclectic mix which included [Cate Campbell] of Australia, a 16 year old making her Olympic debut, Dutch veteran [Marleen Veldhuis] and super-veteran [Dara Torres] of the USA. 41 year old Dara Torres, the oldest female swimmer ever to compete at the Olympics, was making her second comeback and competing in her 5th Olympics, 24 years after his debut. For much of the race it looked like the impossible was about to happen as Torres led the field but a mistimed finish cost the American dearly and Steffan added the 50 metre Olympic title to the 100 she had won previously. The German went on win the same races at the 2009 World Championships. Torres returned to retirement but in 2010 she announced she would attempt to win a place in the US team for the 2012 Olympics.