| Event type

4 x 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women

Date30 August 1972
LocationSchwimmhalle, Olympiapark, München
Participants69 from 16 countries

It was eight years since any nation other than the United States had set a world record in this event. But East Germany (GDR) was improving rapidly as a swimming power, at least among the women. The 100 freestyle champion, Sandy Neilson, who had one that gold the day before, led off the final for the USA and put them ahead, but on the second leg, the GDR’s Andrea Eife almost pulled even with Jenny Kemp. After the third leg, the race was a dead-heat, with the anchor swimmers Shirley Babashoff and Kornelia Ender. They would become great rivals, but most of that was in Montréal four years hence. On the final leg, Babashoff had a slight lead going out but almost missed the wall on her turn and Ender took the lead coming home, only to see Babashoff rally and edge her out for the gold medal for the Americans, who finished in a world record 3:55.19.

The biggest shock of the final was the performance of the Australian women, who finished far back in last. No Aussie woman broke a minute for her split, even anchorwoman Shane Gould. So far behind, she appeared to treat it as a warm-up swim for her 400 final, which took place an hour later, and posted a pedestrian 1:01.00.

1United StatesUSA3:58.93 (1 h2)3:55.19 (1)Gold
Sandy NeilsonJenny KempJane BarkmanShirley BabashoffKim PeytonLynn SkrifvarsAnn Marshall
2East GermanyGDR3:58.11 (1 h1)3:55.55 (2)Silver
Gabriele WetzkoAndrea EifeElke SehmischKornelia EnderSylvia Eichner
3West GermanyFRG4:01.63 (2 h2)3:57.93 (3)Bronze
Jutta WeberHeidi ReineckGudrun BeckmannAngela Steinbach
4HungaryHUN4:04.29 (4 h2)4:00.39 (4)
Andrea GyarmatiJudit TuróczyEdit KovácsMagdolna Patóh
5NetherlandsNED4:02.70 (2 h1)4:01.49 (5)
Enith BrigithaAnke RijndersHansje BunschotenJosien ElzermanAtie Radersma (DNS)Annette Segaar (DNS)
6SwedenSWE4:03.99 (3 h2)4:02.69 (6)
Anita ZarnowieckiEva AnderssonDiana OlssonIrwi Johansson
7CanadaCAN4:05.95 (4 h1)4:03.83 (7)
Wendy CookJudy WrightMary Beth RondeauLeslie Cliff
8AustraliaAUS4:05.44 (3 h1)4:04.82 (8)
Debbie PalmerLeanne FrancisSharon BoothShane GouldDebra Cain
9Soviet UnionURS4:07.55 (5 h1)
Tatyana ZolotnitskayaYelena TimoshenkoNadezhda MatyukhinaIrina UstimenkoOlga Petrusyova (DNS)
10JapanJPN4:08.34 (5 h2)
Yoshimi NishigawaShigeko KawanishiEiko GoshiYukari Takemoto
11FranceFRA4:08.82 (6 h1)
Claude MandonnaudChantal SchertzChristine PetitGuylaine Berger
12Great BritainGBR4:09.51 (6 h2)
Diana SutherlandJudith SirsSusan EdmondsonLesley AllardiceDiane Walker (DNS)
13ItalyITA4:10.70 (7 h2)
Laura PodestàPatrizia LanfrediniLaura GorgerinoFederica Stabilini
14SwitzerlandSUI4:10.73 (8 h2)
Margrit ThometIrène DebrunnerChristiane FlamandFrançoise Monod
15MexicoMEX4:14.95 (7 h1)
María Teresa RamírezVirginia AnchesteguiLaura VacaMarcia Arriaga
16IrelandIRL4:26.34 (8 h1)
Ann O'ConnorChristine FulcherBrenda McGroryAisling O'Leary

Round One (30 August 1972 — 10:00)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 mTimeExchange (Pos)
1East GermanyGDR3:58.11Q=WR
Andrea Eife1:00.181:00.18 (2)
Sylvia Eichner59.811:59.99 (1)
Elke Sehmisch58.582:58.57 (1)
Kornelia Ender59.523:58.09 (1)
Enith Brigitha59.3759.37 (1)
Anke Rijnders1:01.142:00.51 (2)
Hansje Bunschoten1:00.713:01.22 (2)
Josien Elzerman1:01.474:02.69 (2)
Debbie Palmer1:01.481:01.48 (4)
Leanne Francis1:01.372:02.85 (3)
Sharon Booth1:01.073:03.92 (3)
Debra Cain1:01.504:05.42 (3)
Mary Beth Rondeau1:02.951:02.95 (7)
Judy Wright1:01.682:04.63 (6)
Leslie Cliff1:00.723:05.35 (4)
Wendy Cook1:00.584:05.93 (4)
5Soviet UnionURS4:07.55
Tatyana Zolotnitskaya1:02.031:02.03 (6)
Yelena Timoshenko1:01.832:03.86 (4)
Nadezhda Matyukhina1:01.563:05.42 (5)
Irina Ustimenko1:02.124:07.54 (5)
Claude Mandonnaud1:01.381:01.38 (3)
Chantal Schertz1:02.812:04.19 (5)
Christine Petit1:03.703:07.89 (6)
Guylaine Berger1:00.924:08.81 (6)
María Teresa Ramírez1:01.791:01.79 (5)
Virginia Anchestegui1:03.962:05.75 (7)
Laura Vaca1:04.773:10.52 (7)
Marcia Arriaga1:04.424:14.94 (7)
Ann O'Connor1:06.151:06.15 (8)
Christine Fulcher1:05.532:11.68 (8)
Brenda McGrory1:08.053:19.73 (8)
Aisling O'Leary1:06.594:26.32 (8)

Heat Two

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 mTimeExchange (Pos)
1United StatesUSA3:58.93Q
Kim Peyton1:00.121:00.12 (1)
Lynn Skrifvars1:00.602:00.72 (1)
Jane Barkman59.393:00.11 (1)
Ann Marshall58.813:58.92 (1)
2West GermanyFRG4:01.63Q
Gudrun Beckmann1:01.631:01.63 (5)
Jutta Weber1:00.622:02.25 (3)
Angela Steinbach59.963:02.21 (2)
Heidi Reineck59.404:01.61 (2)
Anita Zarnowiecki1:01.081:01.08 (3)
Eva Andersson1:00.972:02.05 (2)
Diana Olsson1:00.403:02.45 (3)
Irwi Johansson1:01.534:03.98 (3)
Andrea Gyarmati1:00.771:00.77 (2)
Judit Turóczy1:01.552:02.32 (4)
Edit Kovács1:01.823:04.14 (4)
Magdolna Patóh1:00.134:04.27 (4)
Yoshimi Nishigawa1:01.341:01.34 (4)
Shigeko Kawanishi1:01.642:02.98 (5)
Eiko Goshi1:01.883:04.86 (5)
Yukari Takemoto1:03.464:08.32 (5)
6Great BritainGBR4:09.51
Diana Sutherland1:03.361:03.36 (8)
Judith Sirs1:03.172:06.53 (8)
Susan Edmondson1:01.743:08.27 (7)
Lesley Allardice1:01.234:09.50 (6)
Laura Podestà1:02.441:02.44 (6)
Patrizia Lanfredini1:02.622:05.06 (6)
Laura Gorgerino1:03.073:08.13 (6)
Federica Stabilini1:02.564:10.69 (7)
Margrit Thomet1:03.251:03.25 (7)
Irène Debrunner1:02.682:05.93 (7)
Christiane Flamand1:03.103:09.03 (8)
Françoise Monod1:01.684:10.71 (8)

Final (30 August 1972 — 17:40)

PosLaneSwimmerNOC50 mTimeExchange (Pos)
15United StatesUSA3:55.19WR
Sandy Neilson58.9858.98 (1)
Jenny Kemp58.991:57.97 (1)
Jane Barkman59.032:57.00 (1)
Shirley Babashoff58.183:55.18 (1)
24East GermanyGDR3:55.55
Gabriele Wetzko59.2359.23 (2)
Andrea Eife58.961:58.19 (2)
Elke Sehmisch59.082:57.27 (2)
Kornelia Ender58.273:55.54 (2)
33West GermanyFRG3:57.93
Jutta Weber59.8459.84 (5)
Heidi Reineck59.021:58.86 (3)
Gudrun Beckmann59.992:58.85 (3)
Angela Steinbach59.073:57.92 (3)
Andrea Gyarmati59.3259.32 (3)
Judit Turóczy1:00.882:00.20 (4)
Edit Kovács1:01.123:01.32 (5)
Magdolna Patóh59.064:00.38 (4)
Enith Brigitha59.4659.46 (4)
Anke Rijnders1:00.852:00.31 (5)
Hansje Bunschoten59.933:00.24 (4)
Josien Elzerman1:01.244:01.48 (5)
Anita Zarnowiecki1:01.161:01.16 (7)
Eva Andersson1:00.252:01.41 (6)
Diana Olsson1:00.303:01.71 (6)
Irwi Johansson1:00.974:02.68 (6)
Wendy Cook1:00.981:00.98 (6)
Judy Wright1:01.062:02.04 (7)
Mary Beth Rondeau1:01.373:03.41 (7)
Leslie Cliff1:00.414:03.82 (7)
Debbie Palmer1:02.021:02.02 (8)
Leanne Francis1:01.092:03.11 (8)
Sharon Booth1:00.703:03.81 (8)
Shane Gould1:01.004:04.81 (8)