21/04/2024

Australia capped off an incredible Tokyo 2020 in the pool by breaking the 4x100m Medley Relay Olympic Record. Picture: Australian Olympic Team Facebook

For the first time ever, Australia has nine gold medals in the swimming as the Women's 4x100m Medley Relay team broke the Olympic record.

Australia’s swimming women have capped off a record-breaking Tokyo 2020 campaign by finishing first in the 4x100m Medley Final. Keep up to date with all the happenings at Tokyo 2020 through The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and Olympic Central.

It was a nail-biting finish in the Women’s 4x100m Medley Final with Australia’s Golden Girls finishing just ahead of an impressive American outfit, Cate Campbell anchoring the Aussies home.

Canada qualified quickest, closely followed by the USA with the Aussies qualifying in third position, landing them a spot in lane three for the final.

The result? A nine-year-old American Olympic record fell as the Aussies smashed their qualifying time by four seconds, the final time of 3:51.60 a mere .13 seconds quicker than the USA.

Backstroke beginning

Kaylee McKeown kicked things off for the Aussies and it was clear from the getgo who the challengers would be.

The gold medallist in both the 100m and 200m Backstroke events during the games wasted no time in putting Australia in a prime position, her second 50m extremely impressive, finishing with a full time of 58.01.

It saw the Australian team go to second position to start the race with Canadian Kylie Masse pushing her team in front with the USA in third.

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Hodges holds her own

By her own admission, Chelsea Hodges was disappointed with how her individual competition went, stating after the race that she knew she would have to up her game to give the Aussies a chance in the relay.

Up her game she did, going stroke for stroke with Lydia Jacoby and keeping Australia within striking distance heading into the final 200m of the race.

Hodges posted the second fastest time of all Breaststroke competitors in the final, Jacoby the only one quicker over the 100m which was expected given the American’s gold medal pedigree.

Hodges’ time of 1:05.57 kept the Aussies in second place, needing to make up half a second over the remaining two legs.

Freestylers to finish

Emma McKeon has had some sort of Olympics, her most recent medal coming only an hour earlier in the 50m Freestyle final but for the Medley Relay, she showcased her versatility.

A freestyle specialist. McKeon stepped up to swim the butterfly leg of the relay and in doing so, gave Cate Campbell a serious chance of bringing home gold for Australia.

She was up against some stiff competition, Canada’s Maggie MacNeil the quickest of the field, swimming a 55.27, but McKeon was not far behind.

Her time of 55.91 meant that Cate Campbell would have to make up .25 of a second with the Americans still hanging on to first place.

MacNeil had solidified Canada’s third place position and former Olympic Champion Penny Oleksiak had the final leg, meaning it was a three horse race to the finish line.

https://twitter.com/7olympics/status/1421658919559118850

A captain’s swim

With 100m to go, there are few people you would want to bring Australia home more than Aussie flag bearer and all-around champion, Cate Campbell.

Like McKeon, she too swam in the 50m Freestyle Final earlier in the morning but failed to feature on the podium, but her words after the race were telling.

Campbell mentioned that you find out more about yourself when things aren’t going right, compared to when everything is going to plan.

With 100m left at Tokyo 2020 and perhaps in her Olympic career, Campbell left it all in the pool and after a disappointing start to the morning, it was a fantastic finish.

She had a quarter of a second to make up against American Abbey Weitzeil, not to mention Oleksiak snapping at her heels, keeping the pressure on the Australian great in second.

Campbell showed nerves of steel and began to make her move and with just 50m to go, it was honours even between her and Weitzeil.

From there, the lead looked to change multiple times with it nearly impossible to tell who was going to bring home gold, but Campbell stuck out her arm.

She reached as far as she could for the wall at the end of an incredible 100m effort and it paid dividends, her time of 52.11 the fastest out of all competitors.

More importantly, Weitzeil swam a 52.49 and Oleksiak had not made up the ground needed to feature in the finish, Cate had done it.

A fitting finish

After failing to fire at full capacity in Rio 2016, Australian Swimming responded by absolutely blowing away the competition in Tokyo 2020.

With McKeon’s 50m Freestyle gold followed by victory in the 4x100m Medley Relay, Australia’s total became a record nine gold medals in the pool in Tokyo.

Add to that three silvers and plenty of bronze medals, there is no doubt the Australian Swimming team exceeded all expectations and achieved Olympic glory, doing its country proud in the process.

McKeon became the first Australian Olympian to crack 11 Olympic medals, making her the country’s most successful Olympian of all time.

McKeown had an outstanding Olympics, doing the backstroke double and contributing greatly to the relay success.

Hodges swam with the stars in Tokyo and showed exactly why she is a vital member of the Aussie line-up.

Cate Campbell flew the flag for her country and did so in style, helping herself to a bronze individual medal and anchoring the Aussie side home in the penultimate event of the tournament.

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