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Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay: Netherlands take gold

Updated: 2008-08-10 12:39:15
Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay: Netherlands take gold
(L-R) Gold medalists Marleen Veldhuis, Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk pose with their medals on the podium (Photo credit: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

(BEIJING, August 10) -- The Netherlands confirmed their dominance of the Womens' 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay by winning the Beijing 2008 Olympic title at the National Aquatics Center on Sunday.

With the same team that broke the world record for the event in March, Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Marleen Veldhuis pulled themselves up from a poor first two legs and seventh place at one stage, to go on to win the gold medal comfortably from the United States by more than half a second.

After a poor first leg from Dekker, Kromowidjojo and Heemskerk began to pull back Germany, USA and China. Heemskerk and Veldhuis in particular overpowered the field, with Veldhuis registering a quick final leg split of 52.58 to give the Netherlands a winning time of 3:33.76.

The Netherlands team will enjoy great satisfaction from the win after taking Bronze at both the 2007 World Championships and the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Silver medalists United States had a great lead off leg from the experienced Natalie Coughlin, were steady through Nymeyer and Joyce, and were brought home strongly by Dara Torres who recorded a slick 52.44 split to give the USA team a time of 3:34.33.

Defending world and Olympic champions Australia, who were well back for much of the race and seemed to be out of the medals at the 300m mark, came storming home thanks to a blistering final leg of 52.34 from 100m Freestyle world record holder Lisbeth Trickett to claim the bronze medal.

China, the fastest qualifier from the heats, may have devoted their strength to the heats because they visibly tired and were overtaken to eventually touch fourth behind the fast-finishing Australia.

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