Australian team celebrate after they won the women's 4x200m freestyle relay gold in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 14, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
BEIJING, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Olympic swimmers staged a breathtaking world-record-breaking show Thursday in women's 4X200m freestyle relay as four teams, led by Australia, swam under the world record pace.
Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice led off the race and finished second after the first leg. But teammate Bronte Barratt caught up and the team kept the lead ever since, leaving other teams battling for the silver and bronze.
The Australians won gold in seven minutes, 44.31 seconds, chopping almost five seconds off the previous world record set by the U.S. team in 2007.
Chinese quartet occupied the second place since the second leg with the United States following closely behind. The biggest threat came in the third leg when U.S. swimmer Caroline Burckle bridged the gap to almost a fingertip difference.
China's anchor Pang Jiaying, who won a bronze in women's 200m freestyle relay Wednesday and was disqualified in 100m freestyle this morning, widened her lead over U.S. swimmer Kati Hoff and secured the silver in 7:45.93.
"We are quite cofident after yesterday's heats. And Liu (Zige)'s gold greatly bolstered our morale," Pang said. China's Liu Zige won gold in women's 200m buttery Thursday morning.
"As people's expectations are going higher, we need to keep cool and be ourselves. We shouldn't give ourselves to much pressure," Pang said.
The United States took bronze in 7:46.33.