BEIJING -- For someone who claims to know little about Australian swimming history,
The victory was a huge upset. The Americans had won all three Olympic titles and the last four world championship titles in the event and were such heavy favorites in Beijing that bookmakers Down Under set 16-1 odds against Australia winning it. Yet Rice's teammates,
The American team of
No doubt the Aussies had seen enough Yankee dominance. "I was part of the relay team at worlds where we saw the Americans absolutely smash that world record," said Rice. "To beat it by so far today is unbelievable. What an adrenaline rush it was!"
What a meet it was for Rice. On Sunday, she outtouched
It has been a spectacular year for Rice, who first grabbed the world's attention in March when, wearing a Speedo LZR at the Australian Olympic Trials, she lopped about six seconds off her best time in the 400 IM to set a new world record of 4:31.46. With three golds in her pocket, Rice's fame Down Under is about to explode, and she already enjoys a celebrity unimaginable to any U.S. swimmer outside of
Expect the media here in China to go nuts over a group of their own swimmers. As gratifying as the 4 x 200 silver was for the Games' host country, it wasn't even its brightest moment of the day at the Water Cube. In the women's 200 fly,
USA swimming officials knew so little about Liu that the heat sheet passed out by a team official before the race had almost no information beyond her height, her birth date and her time in the Olympic preliminaries. The sheet didn't have much more info on Liu's teammate,
"I didn't expect I could swim so fast," said Liu. Asked if coach
Like Rice, Liu picked a good year to do it.