Since the 4 x 200m freestyle relay became part of the Olympic swimming program in 1906, Australia has won it three times, each 44 years apart – in 1912, 1956 and 2000. The first time, the Australian Olympic team competed as Australasia. In the relay final, then regarded as the symbol of world swimming supremacy, they were up against an American team led by the great Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, and were hampered by the absence through illness of Billy Longworth – an absence estimated to be worth 10 seconds. Healy, Champion (NZ), and Boardman set up a 15-metre lead over the US, and in the final leg Kahanamoku could make no impression on Hardwick. The Australasians won in world record time. Six years later Healy died in the WWI Battle of the Somme. He remains the only Australian gold medallist ever killed in action.
Olympic Games, Stockholm