The United States, led by Michael Phelps, have smashed the world record to win the 4x200m relay with Australia winning bronze.

It was the fifth gold medal in the four days of the meet for Phelps so far and his 11th career Olympic gold.

He remains on track for a record eight swimming gold medals at one Olympic Games.

The Americans led all the way and finished several body lengths in front of Russia, who just pipped Australia for bronze.

The Australian quartet of Patrick Murphy, Grant Hackett, Grant Brits and Nick Ffrost were pushed hard in the final stages by Italy. But Ffrost, swimming the anchor leg, responded to hold third place.

The American quartet of Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens and Peter Vanderkaay broke the world record by more than four seconds, hitting the wall in 6:58.56. Russia was second in 7:03.70.

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