Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Women's 50 metre freestyle
|Women's 50 metre freestyle
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
|Venue||Beijing National Aquatics Center|
|Date||August 15, 2008 (heats)
August 16, 2008(semifinals)
August 17, 2008 (final)
|Competitors||92 from 83 nations|
|Winning time||24.06 OR|
|Swimming events at the
2008 Summer Olympics
Germany's Britta Steffen blasted a new Olympic record to strike a sprint freestyle double. She posted a time of 24.06, the second-fastest ever in the event, to erase Inge de Bruijn's 2000 record, and to hold off U.S. swimmer Dara Torres in a close race by a hundredth of a second (0.01). Returning from an eight-year absence, Torres became the first woman in Olympic history to swim past the age of 40. She established both a personal best and an American record of 24.07 to earn a silver medal and eleventh overall in her fifth Olympics since 1984. Meanwhile, Australian teenager Cate Campbell picked up a bronze in 24.17, edging out her teammate Lisbeth Trickett (24.25) by 0.08 of a second.
Netherlands' Marleen Veldhuis finished fifth with a time of 24.26, and was followed in the sixth spot by American Kara Lynn Joyce in 24.63. Veldhuis' teammate Hinkelien Schreuder (24.65) and Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (24.77) rounded out the finale.
Notable swimmers missed out the top 8 final, featuring Sweden's Therese Alshammar, four-time Olympian and silver medalist in Sydney eight years earlier, and Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppälä, fourth-place finalist in the 100 m freestyle.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Lisbeth Trickett (AUS)||23.97||Sydney, Australia||29 March 2008|||
|Olympic record||Inge de Bruijn (NED)||24.13||Sydney, Australia||22 September 2000||-|
The following new world and Olympic records were set during this competition.
|August 17||Final||Britta Steffen||Germany||24.06||OR|
|5||1||Kara Lynn Joyce||United States||24.63||Q|
|7||6||Francesca Halsall||Great Britain||24.80|
|1||5||Dara Torres||United States||24.27||Q|
|4||Dara Torres||United States||24.07||AM|
|6||1||Kara Lynn Joyce||United States||24.63|
- "Olympic Swimming Schedule". USA Today. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Lohn, John (16 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Britta Steffen Edges Dara Torres by .01 to Win 50 Free in Olympic Standard". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Steffen snatches gold in 50m free, Torres takes silver". ESPN. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Forty-one-year-old Olympian Torres gains pool of 40-ish fans". USA Today. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Dara Torres settles for silver medal in 50-meter freestyle". New York Daily News. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- English, Ben (17 August 2008). "Cate Campbell claims 50m bronze, Libby Trickett misses at Beijing Olympics". The Australian. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Lohn, John (15 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Cate Campbell Bounces Back, Tops 50 Free Prelims". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Cowley, Michael (30 March 2008). "Just the Trickett: Libby breaks the speed barrier". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 August 2008.