Comparison final fields:
Facts going into the race:
Impact of morning finals:
The champion said in her press conference that morning finals had no impact on the race. She must have meant her race. Nine of the fastest 16 women, some who did not get past the semi, swam faster in the heats than in subsequent rounds.
What it took to make semis:
Notes on the race:
Lisbeth Trickett (AUS) needed to get out fast to avoid being run over in the closing few metres. The signs of a breakdown in the Aussie's stroke were there in the last few metres, just as they had been in previous rounds, but that came as no surprise: she went out in 26.41, 0.26sec faster than Inge de Bruijn (NED) had done on the way to the 2000 world record (pre-suit, imagine that) of 56.61, which remains an off-the-chart effort. Trickett has out the work in and it told as Christine Magnuson and Jessicah Schipper, 200m world record holder, tried to hunt the leader down on the way home but could not make up for what they had lost on the way out. Trickett's hand placement and start of pull is critical to her efficiency. At full flow, she floats. When fatigue starts to whisper, the balance is thrown. Fatigue was visible only in the last seven or eight strokes, at very most. Nerves and conditions got the better of a few youngsters in the field. Not for much longer, perhaps. Revolution is in the air. It came too late for Beijing but the flatter - in Mary T mode - and the lighter the swimmer who can achieve speed - in peak power-to-weight ratio: Inky style - the more likely they are to be able to get to that 2000 standard.
Impact of the race on the all-time top 10:
HISTORY IN THE MAKING:
Americans have claimed five Olympic titles (1956; 1960, 1964; 1984, 1996), while Trickett's triumph draws the GDR level with Australia. Of the 42 medals on offer since 1956, 16 have gone to Americans, with the GDR claiming eight between 1972 and 1988. Australia now has five medals in total and in Beijing joined the USA and the GDR in the league of nations who have retained the crown (albeit by different swimmers). The title has never been retained by a single swimmer. The USA won the first three titles, all by exactly the same margin 0.9sec.
Fastest: 56.61: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
World Record wins: Sharon Stouder (USA), 1964; Mayumi Aoki (JPN), 1972; Kornelia Ender (GDR), 1976; Inge de Bruijn (NED), 2000.
Biggest margin: De Bruijn is the only champion to have won by more than a second, her triumph in 56.61 leaving her 1.36sec ahead of Martina Moravcova (SVK) in 2000.
Closest shave: Amy Van Dyken's 59.13 win in 1996 left her 0.01sec ahead of Liu Limin (CHN), while Angel Martino (USA), back from a doping ban, took bronze in 59.23.