Australia women's 4x100m freestyle team has claimed Australia's second gold medal of the first night of swimming finals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, defending its London title and breaking the world record in the progress.
"This one was different than the one four years ago because it was expected and it's always a lot harder to do something when it's expected," said Cate Campbell, after leading the relay home.
This wasn't a win. It was a demolition. The Americans crowd cheered wildly when the U.S. team had a 0.7 lead at the halfway mark of the race. Then came a force of nature called the Campbell sisters.
First Bronte, then her big sister Cate, absolutely toyed with the Americans, finishing all over the top of Americans Dana Vollmer And Katie Ledecky.
"I knew she had no chance of getting anywhere near me!" Cate said of Ledecky, who was left chasing white water. In most cases you'd call a comment like that arrogant. But this was just plain simple truth. Cate Campbell knew she had what it took. And she knew her teammates did too.
"I think it was a quiet confidence but one that doesn't need to be spoken, we're very much letting our actions speak and that's entirely what we did."
The team, which led off with Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie, then the Campbell sisters, eclipsed their own world record set at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in claiming gold.
"It's quite surreal, I was focused on what I had to to, which was to get Cate into the best position possible," Elmslie said.
The team touched home in a best-ever time of 3.30.65 ahead of the Americans on 3:31.89. Canada finished third.
The 4x100 freestyle relay was Australia's only pool gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics. We've already doubled that tally in one night in Rio, thanks to Mack Horton, who narrowly won the 400m -- the first Aussie since Ian Thorpe to claim that event.
Night one looks like being a great omen for the rest of the Games. If we're breaking world records in relays, what's going to happen when swimmers take to the pool for their individual events? The Campbell sisters will have the answer to that in coming days.
But the whole team knows we're on to something special here at the Rio games.
"I think Mack is the real hero tonight," the elder Campbell said of the tone-setting win. "I think everyone had a little tear in their eye when they saw him win that medal."
Elmslie, too, credited those around her.
"I think Australia is a force to be reckoned with. We're such a strong team now and we've got great sportsmanship, we get around each other and it's such a great environment and we're all so proud of each other."
Each other. As in, not ourselves. Class aside, that's the really big difference between this team and the London squad.Suggest a correction