Heartwarming pre-race footage shows just how ready Australians women’s 4×100 metres freestyle team were to win the Olympic relay for a third consecutive time, huddling together for support and even holding hands.
Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell smashed a world record on their way to winning Australia’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics.
Their time of 3:29.69 minutes was more than three seconds faster than the second placed Canadian team, ahead of USA, who won bronze.
Going into the race as the red hot favourites, the Australian girls hid their bundles of nerves well and looked relaxed in the marshalling area moments before the race.
The relay swimmers from the other seven countries competition kept to themselves as they sat or did stretches while they waited to called out to the pool deck.
The were far different scenes in the Australian camp, where the girls appeared to be in good spirits, sitting closely in a huddle and happily chatting to each other before holding hands in a circle to pump each other up.
This pre-race footage showed the stark contrast between Australia’s womens 4×100 freestyle relay team’s last minute preparations (right) compared to their rivals
‘They’re looking nervous, excited but this is the most exciting time and they are spinning around,’ former Olympic swimming champion Liesel Jones explained during Channel Seven’s coverage.
‘They are all chatting to each other whereas all the other times are facing forward.
‘So it is interesting to go see the Australians in a bit of a huddle, which is something that we do very well.’
Australia smashed their previous world record to became the first team to break the 3:30 minute barrier, with McKeon’s blistering third relay leg the fifth fastest split in history.
It was relay anchor’s Cate Campbell’s third gold medal in the event, two days after she led the Australian as one of the nation’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony.
It’s her sister Bronte’s second relay gold medal in the event along with McKeon’s while 19-year-old Harris is a first-time Olympian.
Australian swimmers Mollie O’Callaghan and Maddie Wilson, who swam in the relay heats on Saturday night will also receive medals.
Emma McKeon, Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris and Cate Campbell embrace after becoming the first women’s 100 metre freestyle team to break the 3.30minute barrier
Channel Seven reporter Nathan Templeton paid tribute to the harmony within the relay team after interviewing them post-race.
‘Last night, there was a nice little moment off camera. Mollie O’Callaghan, the 17-year-old who did a terrific lead-off leg looked a bit nervous as she came to walk up to the mic,’ he said.
‘I noticed Bronte Campbell touch her on the arm and reassure her.
‘Tonight, Meg Harris wears hearing aides. She has trouble earring. Bronte came over to me just before and said can you just give us a little heads up on what you are going to ask Meg because she might not be able to hear you.
‘So that’s just the idea of the sort of team work that goes into that magnificent dream team.
Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell won Australia’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics
Both the Australian (right) and second-placed Canadian teams (left) were in high spirits after delivering a powerhouse performances in the 4x100m freestyle relay
The ecstatic Australian team were captured celebrating their win by the poolside along second place Canada who showed no signs of disappointment about silver
A beaming Bronte described the relay win as an incredible moment for the team.
‘It’s incredible,’ she said.
‘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. It’s an incredible group of girls.’
Harris added: ‘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.’
The women’s swimming team dominated the relay from the outset toeing the lead in the first 100 metres.
They began to gain distance from their opponents when McKeon took to the water before Cate jumped in and secured the lead by several seconds.
Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon, Cate Campbell and Meg Harris set a new world record after finishing the race in 3:29.69 minutes
A beaming Bronte described it as an incredible moment for the team to win the finals
Cate said she could not have asked for a better team to take on the relay.
‘I could not be prouder of these girls,’ she said. ‘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.’
Cate thanked her family for their ongoing support and said she could not wait to return home and celebrate the victory with them.
‘I hope that you are all smiling as much as we are,’ she said. ‘It has been a hell of a trip to get here but we are so, so happy. I can’t wait to see you soon.’
The women’s swimming team dominated the relay from the outset before winning first place by more than three seconds