Doha 2024: Netherlands claim women’s 4x100m freestyle relay gold

Credit to: Istvan Derencsenyi/World Aquatics

Marrit Steenbergen propelled the Netherlands 4x100m freestyle relay squad past Australia and to the top of the podium on the first day of the pool programme in Doha.

Kim Busch led off in 55.21 with the Netherlands seventh after the opening leg and eighth at halfway after Janna van Kooten went 55.24.

Kira Toussaint split 53.81 as she handed over to Steenbergen in third behind Poland and Italy.

Shayna Jack of Australia led at the final turn with a fourth straight world title on the cards.

However, Steenbergen – breathing to her right and with Jack in her sights – moved on to the Australian’s shoulder before going past for victory in 3mins 36.61secs with the fastest split in the entire field of 52.35.

It was the first time a Dutch quartet had topped the podium since Shanghai 2011 and came seven years after they last claimed a medal with bronze at Budapest 2017.

Steenbergen’s performance on Sunday was all the more impressive given she had just competed in the semifinals of the 200m individual medley, where she qualified sixth for Monday’s final.

The 24-year-old said: “I think to win the gold is beyond our expectations. We thought we could win a medal, we knew it was going to be really tough, but to get away with the gold, we did not expect that at all!

“The key to our success was to swim fast! We are very strong as a team, we try to be there beyond the blocks for each other, and I think that it brings something extra. That’s something we are really good at.”

Italy won silver in the men’s 4×100 free relay in a race in which Pan Zhanle set a 100m freestyle World Record of 46.80 on the lead-off.

Alessandro Miressi (47.90), Lorenzo Zazzeri (47.99), Paolo Conte Bonin (47.83) and Manuel Frigo (48.36) came home in 3:12.08 to finish exactly one second off China’s gold medal-winning time.

Credit to: Tsutomu KISHIMOTO/World Aquatics

Lukas Martens won his second straight bronze in the 400 free in 3:42.96 with German teammate Isabel Gose matching that in the women’s race and lowering her national record to 4:02.39 in the process.

As well as being her first journey inside 4:03, it also earned Gose a ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris in July.

In the semifinals, Angelina Kohler set a German record of 56.11 in the 100m butterfly, faster than the winning time in Fukuoka in 2023.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty led the way in the 100m breaststroke in 58.60 with Mario Molly Yanes of Spain third through to the final of the 50m butterfly in 23.17.