‘That’s insane’: Aussie women pipped in relay world record drama

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
The 4x200m relay world record tumbled (left) as Australia claimed bronze in the thrilling final (right).
All three podium finishers in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay broke the previous world record at the Tokyo Olympics, with Australia claiming bronze. Pictures: Channel 7/Getty Images

Australia's women's 4x200m freestyle relay team has claimed bronze in a thrilling performance at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.

Following stellar performances from Zac Stubblety-Cook and Kyle Chalmers earlier in the day, the relay team sought to pick up Australia's third swimming medal of the day - and they didn't disappoint.

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Lead-off stars Ariane Titmus and Emma McKeown powered through the first half of the race, putting the team nearly a body-length ahead of the world record time, which was set by Australia back in 2019.

A surprise challenge emerged from China however, and a powerhouse final leg from American superstar Katie Ledecky brought them back into contention.

Madison Wilson and Leah Neale held firm for Australia in the second half of the race, but were unable to reel in China who streaked ahead for a memorable victory.

Impressively, all three podium finished bested the previous world record time - but it was China would were able to hold on for gold, with Ledecky carrying the Americans to silver and Australia taking bronze.

It was China's first gold medal in the event.

Fans on social media were stunned by the close race, as well as the incredible world record finish.

Aussie heartbreak as Kyle Chalmers pipped to freestyle gold

Australia's Kyle Chalmers has fallen agonisingly short of clinching history after being pipped to the gold medal by American superstar Caeleb Dressel in the 100m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Chalmers was trying to become the first Aussie man to defend his title from the Rio 2016 Games and the first man to win two golds in the 100m freestyle.

The Aussie looked like he might have had Dressel covered after a lightning fast final 50 metres, the American touched first in a new Olympic Record time of 47.02.

Chalmers' time of 47.08 was an equal personal best but sadly for the 23-year-old, it was just not enough for the gold.

The grandstand finish left viewers gobsmacked on social media and Aussie fans understandably shattered, but proud of their man.

Russia's Kliment Kolesnikov took the bronze in 47.44.

Chalmers showed his class after the race by congratulating Dressel with a well deserved hug.

Dressel missed out on the individual sprint medals at Rio in 2016, but he has since exploded, winning an incredible 13 titles over the past two world championships.

He went to the turn in front but had to dig deep to hold off a storming Chalmers, smashing the previous Olympic record of 47.05 held by Australia's Eamon Sullivan since 2008.

"I don't know if it's set in yet. It's been a really tough year, really hard. I'm really happy," he said in tears as he was connected via video link to his wife and family back home.

Chalmers - while disappointed he couldn't win the gold again - admitted that he did everything in his power to claim victory.

"I left everything in the pool. I gave everything I could," said Chalmers.

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

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