Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Women's 100 metre backstroke
|Women's 100 metre backstroke
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
|Venue||Beijing National Aquatics Center|
|Date||August 10, 2008 (heats)
August 11, 2008(semifinals)
August 12, 2008 (final)
|Competitors||49 from 38 nations|
|Swimming events at the
2008 Summer Olympics
The women's 100 metre backstroke event at the 2008 Olympic Games took place on 10–12 August at the Beijing National Aquatics Center. This swimming event used the backstroke. Because an Olympic size swimming pool is 50 metres long, this race consisted of two lengths of the pool.
Seven heats were held, with most containing the maximum number of swimmers (eight). The heat in which a swimmer competed did not formally matter for advancement, as the swimmers with the top sixteen times from the entire field qualified for the semifinals. Two semifinal heats of eight swimmers each were held. The swimmers with the eight fastest times again advanced to the finals; there, they all competed in a single final heat to earn final placements.
The qualifying standards were for the 2008 event were 1:01.70 seconds (A norm) and 1:03.86 seconds (B norm). NOCs with two or more swimmers meeting the A standard could enter any two such swimmers; otherwise, they could enter a single swimmer meeting the B standard.
|Sunday, August 10, 2008||18:30-19:00||Heats|
|Monday, August 11, 2008||10:00-10:10||Semifinals|
|Tuesday, August 12, 2008||10:20||Final|
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Natalie Coughlin (USA)||58.97||Omaha, United States||1 July 2008|||
|Olympic record||Natalie Coughlin (USA)||59.68||Athens, Greece||21 August 2004|
The following new world and Olympic records were set during this competition.
|August 10||Heat 5||Anastasia Zuyeva||Russia||59.61||OR|
|August 10||Heat 6||Reiko Nakamura||Japan||59.36||OR|
|August 10||Heat 7||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||59.00||OR|
|August 11||Semifinal 2||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||58.77||OR||WR|
During the two preliminary heats, Kirsty Coventry broke first the existing Olympic Record, then the existing World Record. Thus, prior to the final heat, both records were different than what they had been before the competition started. In the final heat, Natalie Coughlin won the event, but failed to recapture her pre-match records from Coventry . However, she did better her pre-match World Record, and thus her personal best, by .01 second.
Semifinal 1 
|1||5||Natalie Coughlin||United States||59.43||Q|
|3||3||Gemma Spofforth||Great Britain||59.79||Q|
|5||7||Elizabeth Simmonds||Great Britain||1:00.39|
Semifinal 2 
|1||4||Kirsty Coventry||Zimbabwe||58.77||Q, WR|
|3||6||Margaret Hoelzer||United States||59.84||Q|
|8||8||Elizabeth Coster||New Zealand||1:01.45|
|5||Natalie Coughlin||United States||58.96||AM|
|7||Margaret Hoelzer||United States||59.34|
|4||2||Gemma Spofforth||Great Britain||59.38||EU|