- Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics - Men's 4 x 100 metre medley relay
The men's 4×100 metre medley relay event at the 2008 Olympic Games took place on
August 15(qualification) and August 17(final) at the Beijing National Aquatics Center. This swimmingevent uses medley swimmingas a relay. Because an Olympic size swimming pool is 50 metres long, each of the four swimmers completed two lengths of the pool, each using a different stroke. The first on each team used the backstroke, the second used the breaststroke, the third used the butterfly stroke, and the final swimmer used freestyle (restricted to not allow any of the first three strokes to be used, though nearly all swimmers use front crawlregardless).
The first swimmer must touch the wall before the next can leave the starting block, and so forth; timing of the starts is thus important.
Two heats are held, with each containing the maximum number of teams (eight). The heat in which a team competed does not formally matter for advancement, as the teams with the top eight times from the entire field qualifies for the final; there, they all compete in a single heat to earn final placements. A team can use different swimmers in the final than had swum in the heats; indeed the US and Australian teams used entirely different lineups for the final. All participants on the medal winning teams receive a medal whether they were in the finals or not, though only the athletes that swum the final will take part in the podium ceremony.
16 nations competed in this event. These 16 nations consisted of the 12 best placed teams at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships plus the 4 best times after the qualifying period.
The 4 x 100 medley was the last indoor swimming event contested at the 2008 Olympics. With the USA team's win,
Michael Phelpsearned his eighth gold medal at the Beijing games, breaking the record for most golds in a single games, previously held by another United States swimmer, Mark Spitz.
* Q = Qualified, DSQ = Disqualified
* WR = World Record, OR = Olympic Record
* AF = African Record, AS = Asian Record, ER = European Record, OC = Oceania Record
* CR = Commonwealth Record, NR = National Record
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