Rice: WR 4:29.71 400IM; Coventry Also Below 4:30
Australian and US-based Zimbabwean storm below 4:30; Hoff takes bronze

Stephanie Rice (AUS) and Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) became the first women to break the 4:30 mark to take gold and silver in the 400m medley. Their stunning times: 4:29.71 and 4:29.89. Katie Hoff (USA) forfeited her world record and had to settle for bronze, in 4:31.71.

The biggest prizes went to the most courageous: Rice was over a second ahead of world record pace at 100m, Coventry turned just ahead at 200m in 2:09.50, 3.83sec inside world-record pace, Rice took command again on breaststroke and turned in 2:27.25, still 1.40sec inside Hoff's best pace. Coventry fought back over the final 15 metres on freestyle as Rice showed the first signs of a breakdown in her smooth stroke but the Australian had done enough and was rewarded for her bravery with the first gold medal in a medley event for the Dolphins since Shane Gould won the 200m and Gail Neall the 400m in 1972.

  • Rice's splits: 1:01.47; 2:09.83; 3:27.25; 4:29.45
  • Coventry's splits: 1:02.75; 2:09.50; 3:28.46; 4:29.89
  • Hoff's ex-WR splits: 1:03.69; 2:13.33; 3:28.65; 4:31.71