Michael Klim spearheaded a brilliant world record win over the United States in the prestigious 4x100 metres freestyle last night and made sure it rang in the ears of the team's American rivals.
Klim broke the individual 100m world record and the team set a new relay mark. Afterwards they partied by the pool by playing air guitars a direct reference to a comment from American Gary Hall jnr that the US team would "smash Australia like guitars" in the swimming events.
Hall was mown down by Ian Thorpe over the last 50m despite the American being a better credentialled 100m swimmer.
Thorpe's courageous effort came just an hour after he set the world record in the 400m and the Australians, including Chris Fydler and Ashley Callus, had to come from behind in three legs to inflict the first defeat on an American 4x100m team in Olympic history.
The Australians finishing in 3min13.67sec, a touch ahead of the US in 3:13.86. Both teams shattered the old world record of 3:15.11 set by the Americans in 1995.
Klim led off with 48.18, beating the old 100m mark of 48.21 held by Russian great and Australian Institute of Sport training partner Alex Popov.
The US women's team took first blood with a world record in their 100m relay and Jenny Thompson anchored the team home to become the first American woman to win six Olympic gold medals.
That result was expected but so was a win for the American men in a race Australian swimming legend Dawn Fraser said was the best relay she had seen.
Klim paid tribute to Thorpe when he said: "I was just hoping he would find something. I knew he was the fitter guy out of the two and he just paced perfectly."
"I doff my swimming cap to the great Ian Thorpe," said Hall. And he also took the guitar taunt in his stride with "that's a little bit of fun it's in good humour and no feelings were hurt".
Meanwhile, Thompson, 27, overtook the previous best performance by a female American Olympian, set by speedskater Bonnie Blair, but is still waiting for an individual medal.
Her chance will come tonight in the 100m butterfly final, but she will be up against arch-rival Inge de Bruijn, who led the Netherlands to second place in the relay.
The relay gold last night created more history for the US team, with Dara Torres, 33, joining Thompson as the first American female swimmers to win three gold medals in the same event.
Torres, who did not swim in Atlanta, has made a stunning comeback after seven years out of the pool to contest her fourth Games. It is the third Olympics for Thompson.
The US have dominated this event, winning at the past three Olympics. Their time last night of 3min36.61sec bettered by 1.3sec the previous best, set by the Chinese in 1994.
Susie O'Neill gave Australia a great early sight in the final when she swam a Commonwealth record of 54.79sec for the first 100m, which gave Australia the lead at the changeover. They tired to finish sixth.
"We could not have asked for anything more," O'Neill said. "We did our best time together."