| Event type

4 x 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women

Date4 – 6 December 1956
LocationOlympic Park Swimming and Diving Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria
Participants45 from 10 countries

Having smashed the world record twice in the previous eight weeks, and with all three individual medallists included in their quartet, it seemed implausible that any team other than the home nation of Australia would win the women’s relay in Melbourne.

Individual 100 m gold medallist Dawn Fraser faltered at the start when she mistakenly thought a false start had been called but recovered and gave the Aussies a healthy lead on leg one before newly crowned Olympic butterfly champion Shelley Mann dragged the USA back into the fray. The race was effectively decided only on the final leg when 400 m champion Lorraine Crapp sprinted away into the distance. Despite the incident at the start Australia still beat the world record yet again. The time for the second place Americans was also under the old world record.

1AustraliaAUS4:25.0 (1 h2)4:17.1 (1)Gold
Dawn FraserFaith LeechSandra MorganLorraine CrappMargaret GibsonElizabeth FraserAlva Colquhoun (DNS)Jan Munro (DNS)
2United StatesUSA4:27.3 (2 h1)4:19.2 (2)Silver
Sylvia RuuskaShelley MannNancy SimonsJoan RosazzaBetty BreyKay KnappMarley Shriver
3South AfricaRSA4:26.8 (1 h1)4:25.7 (3)Bronze
Natalie MyburghSusan RobertsMoira AbernethyJeanette Myburgh
4Unified Team of GermanyGER4:27.5 (3 h1)4:26.1 (4)
Ingrid KünzelHertha HaaseKati JansenBirgit KlompChristel Steffin (DNS)
5CanadaCAN4:29.3 (3 h2)4:28.3 (5)
Helen StewartGladys PriestleySara BarberVirginia GrantBeth Whittall (DNS)
6SwedenSWE4:30.1 (4 h2)4:30.0 (6)
Anita HellströmBirgitta WängbergKarin LarssonKate JobsonAnita Andersson (DNS)
7HungaryHUN4:28.1 (2 h2)4:31.1 (7)
Mária LittomeritzkyKatalin SzőkeJudit TemesValéria GyengeÉva Székely (DNS)Zsuzsa Ördög (DNS)
8Great BritainGBR4:34.6 (4 h1)4:35.8 (8)
Frances HogbenJudith GrinhamMargaret GirvanFearne EwartMargaret Edwards (DNS)
9JapanJPN4:35.8 (5 h2)
Hitomi JinnoEiko WadaYoshiko SatoYukiko OtakaSetsuko Shimada (DNS)
10FranceFRA4:36.6 (5 h1)
Odile VouauxViviane GouverneurGinette SendralHéda FrostColette Thomas (DNS)

Round One (4 December 1956 — 14:55)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 mTimeExchange (Pos)
12South AfricaRSA4:26.8Q
Jeanette Myburgh1:07.31:07.3 (1)
Susan Roberts1:06.52:13.8 (3)
Moira Abernethy1:08.23:22.0 (3)
Natalie Myburgh1:04.84:26.8 (1)
24United StatesUSA4:27.3Q
Betty Brey1:07.91:07.9 (3)
Nancy Simons1:05.52:13.4 (2)
Kay Knapp1:08.23:21.6 (2)
Marley Shriver1:05.74:27.3 (2)
36Unified Team of GermanyGER4:27.5Q
Ingrid Künzel1:07.61:07.6 (2)
Hertha Haase1:05.52:13.1 (1)
Kati Jansen1:07.03:20.1 (1)
Birgit Klomp1:07.44:27.5 (3)
43Great BritainGBR4:34.6Q
Frances Hogben1:08.31:08.3 (4)
Margaret Girvan1:08.62:16.9 (4)
Fearne Ewart1:09.33:26.2 (4)
Judith Grinham1:07.44:33.6 (4)
Odile Vouaux1:08.41:08.4 (5)
Viviane Gouverneur1:10.42:18.8 (5)
Ginette Sendral1:10.63:29.4 (5)
Héda Frost1:07.24:36.6 (5)

Heat Two

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 mTimeExchange (Pos)
Margaret Gibson1:06.41:06.4 (1)
Sandra Morgan1:05.42:11.8 (1)
Elizabeth Fraser1:07.33:19.1 (1)
Faith Leech1:05.94:25.0 (1)
Judit Temes1:07.11:07.1 (3)
Mária Littomeritzky1:07.12:14.2 (2)
Katalin Szőke1:07.03:21.2 (2)
Valéria Gyenge1:06.94:28.1 (2)
Virginia Grant1:06.71:06.7 (2)
Gladys Priestley1:07.72:14.4 (3)
Sara Barber1:08.13:22.5 (3)
Helen Stewart1:06.84:29.3 (3)
Anita Hellström1:08.31:08.3 (5)
Birgitta Wängberg1:07.72:16.0 (5)
Karin Larsson1:07.43:23.4 (4)
Kate Jobson1:06.74:30.1 (4)
Hitomi Jinno1:07.81:07.8 (4)
Eiko Wada1:08.12:15.9 (4)
Yoshiko Sato1:08.83:24.7 (5)
Yukiko Otaka1:11.34:36.0 (5)

Final (6 December 1956 — 20:20)

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 mTimeExchange (Pos)
Dawn Fraser1:04.01:04.0 (1)
Faith Leech1:05.32:09.3 (1)
Sandra Morgan1:04.73:14.0 (1)
Lorraine Crapp1:03.14:17.1 (1)
23United StatesUSA4:19.2
Sylvia Ruuska1:06.31:06.3 (2)
Shelley Mann1:03.92:10.2 (2)
Nancy Simons1:04.63:14.8 (2)
Joan Rosazza1:04.44:19.2 (2)
35South AfricaRSA4:25.7
Natalie Myburgh1:07.71:07.7 (5)
Susan Roberts1:05.32:13.0 (3)
Moira Abernethy1:08.03:21.0 (4)
Jeanette Myburgh1:04.74:25.7 (3)
46Unified Team of GermanyGER4:26.1
Ingrid Künzel1:06.61:06.6 (3)
Hertha Haase1:06.72:13.3 (4)
Kati Jansen1:05.73:19.0 (3)
Birgit Klomp1:07.14:26.1 (4)
Helen Stewart1:07.11:07.1 (4)
Gladys Priestley1:07.12:14.2 (5)
Sara Barber1:07.53:21.7 (5)
Virginia Grant1:06.64:28.3 (5)
Anita Hellström1:08.81:08.8 (=6)
Birgitta Wängberg1:07.72:16.5 (6)
Karin Larsson1:07.43:23.9 (7)
Kate Jobson1:06.14:30.0 (6)
Mária Littomeritzky1:09.91:09.9 (8)
Katalin Szőke1:06.72:16.6 (7)
Judit Temes1:06.73:23.3 (6)
Valéria Gyenge1:07.84:31.1 (7)
88Great BritainGBR4:35.8
Frances Hogben1:08.81:08.8 (=6)
Judith Grinham1:09.02:17.8 (8)
Margaret Girvan1:09.43:27.2 (8)
Fearne Ewart1:08.64:35.8 (8)