South Africa's Ryk Neethling
was part of the winning 4 x 100m
Freestyle Relay team.
Reigning Olympic 4 x 100m Men’s Relay champions South Africa, have held on to their dominance with a winning performance in the first Swimming relay of the Games.
Australia’s new look team stayed with the champions throughout the race. Canada finished with the bronze medal.
In qualifying, the South Africans set a fast pace of 3:13.17 with the Australians coming in third fastest at 3:15.76.
The South Africa men pulled off a major shock in 2004 when they won the Olympic Games 4x100m Freestyle title in world record time. Their hopes of recapturing their Olympics performance has been realised.
Speaking in the lead up to the Games, relay swimmer Ryk Neethling said “We are all friends and we have the similar feelings we had in Athens, so a world record is definitely our target and we are capable of achieving it. The relay on the opening night will be a good start for us."
The Australian squad seemed to be in the right shape for the event as Brett Hawke broke his personal best time at the recent Victorian Championships in Melbourne winning the 100m Freestyle semi-final in under 50 seconds (clocking 49.95 seconds). Relay team mate and swimming icon, Michael Klim beat Hawke’s time by 0.28 seconds with a time of 49.67 seconds.
In the height of his career, Hawke has achieved his dream of competing in the Australian 4 x 100m Freestyle relay team before settling into retirement as a coach in the US.
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