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Dolphins Deliver Ahead Of The Dutch

Jul 28, 2012

Olympic Games, London, Day 1 finals

Women's 4x100m freestyle

The Australian women's quartet of Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger upset the Dutch favourites to claim a maiden 2012 gold for the Dolphins in 3:33.15, an Olympic record and the best ever seen in textile suits.

The Dutch quartet of Inge Dekker, Marleen Veldhuis, Femke Heemskerk and Ranomi Kromowidjojo took silver in 3:33.79, with Missy Franklin taking her first medal at the start of a seven-event programmer leading US teammates Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt to bronze in 3:34.24.

Australia's decision to leave Libby Trickett out of the final line up was vindicated as 18-year-old Elmslie kept the Aussies in a strong lead position going into the last leg. 

Melanie Schlanger might have wobbled given the reputation and speed of Ranomi Kromowidjojo this season but the Melbourne-based sprinter held strong and clocked a fine final leg of 52.65, the Dutch favourite for the 100m solo crown sending smoke off the water with a 51.93 split which, as good as it was, was not good enough for gold.

"I was really able to put together a good race and that's the only way Olympic gold medals are won," Schlanger said. There's no better feeling than that. When everyone can fire on the day, that's what Olympic gold is made of."

It was Australia's first win in the event since a team featuring Trickett won gold at the Athens Games in 2004. It was also their third win ever, lifting the Dolphins to second-most successful nation ever in this event after the US, with 14 wins 3 silvers and 4 bronzes dating back to the beginning of it all for women at Stockholm 1912.

Campbell joked the women had now set the standard for James Magnussen and co. "I think that we've just given them something to reach for, don't you think? They're reigning world champions but we're reigning Olympic champions. They'll have to wait to join us."

Trickett will still get her fourth Olympic gold medal, with all seven swimmers to receive one after Emily Seebohm and Yolane Kukla also took part in the heats.

Trickett was left out after Elmslie earned her spot with a quicker time in the morning heats, bringing an end to the veteran's London campaign as it was the only event she had qualified for.

Elmslie said she felt for Trickett but relieved she had done a good job. "Libby's such a great athlete and she'll always have earned the respect of Australia as she's done everything in the past and she's had the experience," said the teenager. I just did my own thing in the heat and the coaches decided the end decision and I'm just happy that I could to Australia proud."

Reports by Craig Lord and Karin Helmstaedt.