Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon won gold in a thrilling 7 minutes, 41.50 seconds, taking down China’s previous record of 7:42.08. The record has been unbeaten since 2009.
The United States took home the silver at 7:41.87 and Canada came in third at 7:44.35.
Titmus, the teenager who won gold on Sunday against the US powerhouse Katie Ledecky, was the first off the blocks and set a rapid pace at 1:54.27 for her leg of the swim. Hers was the fastest leg of the race.
Australia dropped back in second position for much of the second and third legs of the relay until McKeon swam a brilliant anchor leg to overtake the US team and seal victory, and a world record, for Australia. McKeon was recovering from illness at the time of the race but still found enough strength to put the Australian team over the edge in the final metres.
Gold for Titmus, Wilson, Throssell and McKeon 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/gSvtHPg1nk
— Australian Swim Team (@DolphinsAUS) July 25, 2019
The win marks the first time Australia has won the women’s 4x200m world title.
“Just touching the wall and seeing the three others celebrate, it made me so excited,” McKeon told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I wasn’t thinking about a world record, that was the key. Was it a 2009 record? To break that this year is so exciting.
After the record-breaking swim, 18-year-old Titmus paid tribute to McKeon, who has been one of Australia’s top swimmers over the past decade.
“I really wanted to do my job for the girls. If we really wanted to have a crack at the world record, I would have to play my part,” Titmus said.
“Emma [McKeon] was so gutsy… to come up and do that. To be able to pull that out in the relay is just incredible. I’m so proud of her.”
Watch the highlights of the memorable race below.
WORLD RECORD! What a way to end the session! A great duel between two huge swimming nations, USA and Australia, in the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay. #Swimming #FINAGwangju2019 pic.twitter.com/bRbA1yvNLl
— FINA (@fina1908) July 25, 2019