The gold medal that all of Australia was counting on has been delivered at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Australian women’s 4x100m freestyle team has done it again – smashing the world record to win the gold medal for the third time in succession.
Cate Campbell – who carried Australia’s flag at the Opening Ceremony – once again anchored the team to the gold in three minutes 29.69 seconds – obliterating the old world record Australia set at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Campbell was also on the relays that won gold in the same event at the 2012 London Olympics and again at Rio in 2016 so joins Dawn Fraser and Libby Trickett as the only Australian swimmers to win gold medals at three Olympics.
Her younger sister Bronte Campbell – who swam the lead-off leg, and Emma McKeon, who swam the third leg, were teammates of Cate at Rio.
The trio were joined at Tokyo’s Aquatic Centre by Meg Harris, one of the rising stars of Australian swimming.
Canada finished second and the United States third.
Australia won gold, silver and a bronze from three finals on Sunday.
Leisel Jones told Channel 7: “Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell take a bow. That was one of the most impressive 4 x 11 freestyle relays we have seen in a long time. Cate Campbell bringing it home for the girls. So well done. You are Olympic gold medallist in world record time and the first under 330. Well done.”
Ian Thorpe added: “Under three minutes 30. This is an iconic swim for world swimming. The first women’s team to ever be under that. Absolutely amazing to see.
“I have some splits here for people to understand how this was won. 53.05 for Bronte off the lead. 53.09 for Harris. Listen to this one. For Emma McKeon, 51.35, which puts her – and that is the fifth fastest time – the fifth fastest split anyone has ever done. She takes one of those away from Cate Campbell to be able to do that. Cate in the final leg, 52.24.”
WHAT THE SWIMMERS SAID:
Meg Harris: “Incredible. There is no feeling like it. Last night swimming with Maddie I walked out and it was insane. Then to get the opportunity to do it again in the final is even better.”
Emma McKeown: “Yes, being a part of this relay especially always lifts you. Going out with the girls, you have that extra bit of adrenaline. I actually felt a bit more relaxed going in with the rest of them and seeing the girls last night put up a good heat swim. All six of us are part of this team. So very exciting.”
Bronte Campbell: “Incredible. It has been a long time with my team. One of my favourite memories of being part of the Australian team is being part of this particular team. Incredible group of girls. So fantastic for Meg as a freshy on the team and the next generation coming through is also amazing.”
Cate Campbell: “Yes, I could not be prouder of these girls. It has been a tough ask for everyone to get here and to come away with the win and a world record. You honestly couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Originally published as Olympic champions: How Aussies obliterated world record