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Page last updated at 04:42 GMT, Sunday, 10 August 2008 05:42 UK

Dutch women take freestyle gold

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Video - Dutch women win shock relay gold

The Netherlands' women's relay team won gold in the 4x100m freestyle final in Beijing, setting a new Olympic record of three minutes and 33.76 seconds.

The United States took the silver and Australia won bronze.

The Dutch held onto their lead in the final stretch as the US's 41-year-old veteran Dara Torres closed in.

They broke the Olympic mark of 3:35.94 set four years ago by Australia. Britain finished seventh but set a new national record in the process.

Francesca Halsall, Caitlin McClatchey, Jessica Sylvester and Melanie Marshall clocked 3.38.18.

Halsall, who took the team to second with her first leg, also took a British record with 53.81, only eclipsed by Germany’s Britta Steffen setting an Olympic record of 53.38.

"That was a great team effort, another record and one for me as an individual," she said.

Sylvester was equally delighted: "I'm so happy to be a part of this quartet which has gone faster than any other British team in history," she said.

"We had nothing to lose and just gave a great performance, and I'm so happy with how I swam."

Former GB Olympian Steve Parry
In the semi-finals, Wales' Jemma Lowe became the second British woman in Beijing to make an individual swimming final, qualifying in the women’s 100m butterfly and equalling the British record for good measure.

She follows in the footsteps of GB team mate Hannah Miley who this weekend became just the sixth British woman to make an individual Olympic swimming final in the last 20 years in qualifying for the 400m medley.

Lowe was fourth in her semi-final, clocking 57.78 in a race won by Australia's Lisbeth Trickett, but showed from the outset she meant business as she went through 50m in second place - just a tenth behind Trickett.

Christopher Cook exited the 100m breast stroke at the semi-final stage, finishing seventh in 1.00.81.

see also
Swimming on the BBC
02 Oct 07 |  Swimming

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