HONG KONG collected their first medal of the Hiroshima Asian Games last night when the women's 4 ? 100 metres relay squad snatched the bronze from South Korea, smashing the national record by more than eight seconds in the process. Robyn Lamsam swam a brilliant anchor leg to surge ahead of Korea's Lee Bo-eun to give Hong Kong, also featuring Katie Lau King-ting, Fenella Ng Gar-loc and Vivian Lee Ying-shih, third place in a time of three minutes, 54.36 seconds - more than two seconds ahead of the Koreans. China's powerful squad of Shan Ying, Le Ying, Le Jingye and Lu Bin won the gold in 3:43.35 with Japan's Sumika Minamoto, Naoko Imoto, Eri Yamanoi and Suzu Chiba taking silver in 3:46.41 at the Big Wave Indoor Pool. But for the four Hong Kong swimmers, it felt like the whole universe revolved around them as they tasted the glory attained through sheer hard work and the tactical shrewdness of Australian coach Bill Sweetenham. Sweetenham, having watched the South Korean men swim the day before, organised the Hong Kong swimming order to start with an inexperienced swimmer, in Lau, followed by an experienced one in Ng with Lee and Lamsam swimming the final two legs. This, he felt, would counteract the Korean ploy of starting with their slowest swimmer and finishing with their quickest. But Sweetenham had no time to reflect on game plans as he let his charges do the talking. 'The night belongs to the girls,' he said. Lamsam, who admitted to nerves even while she was swimming, was still in dreamland an hour after the race. 'This is definitely the best feeling I have had in swimming,' said the 16-year-old Lamsam, who soon leaves Hong Kong for Australia. 'I was really, really, nervous and numb. Even when I was in the water, I could not feel a thing. 'It's like I'm still in a dream. I'm thinking 'what the hell's going on'? Bill told me not to look at the Koreans before the race, but I couldn't help but sneak a peak. 'But, without sounding too confident, when I started my leg, it was about the same time as the Korean girl and I knew we could do it because I've beaten her a few times before.' Lamsam paid tribute to Australia-bound Sweetenham who she admitted was a tough taskmaster in the years building up to the Games. 'This proves that Bill is a really good coach. Four years of whip-cracking and bruising training has paid off,' she said. 'But all that pain has now gone.' For veteran Ng, it was her second Asian Games bronze medal. She won a bronze in the same event eight years ago in Seoul. 'It was a great team effort,' said Ng. 'All the girls pitched in. We all swam personal best times and really deserve this medal.' Asian Games debutant Lee, the 18-year-old daughter of Hong Kong's team manager John Lee, said she could not imagine herself to have stood next to China's world-beating swimmers on the medal podium. 'It's like a dream,' she repeated three times. 'I thought I played my part. It was quite close between me and the Korean girl, so when Robyn went off, I knew we had a chance.' The hugely shy Lau, who Sweetenham reckons has said no more than 30 words to him in his three years in Hong Kong, was the only Hong Kong swimmer not to attend the post-race press conference. Lau is also a medal hope in the women's 100 metres butterfly. Manager Lee revealed the Hong Kong team's special nerve-easing preparations before the race. 'To avoid traffic congestion, we came to the venue very early,' he said. 'The team could call on a physio at any time. 'In the afternoon, we put them in a hotel together, so they can be as a team and rest with the minimum of disturbances. 'They had a massage before they got to the venue, which was only five minutes before the race so they would not get nervous.' The women's bronze overshadowed an excellent performance in Arthur Li Kai-yien in the men's 100 metres freestyle. Li twice missed Michael Wright's Hong Kong national record by 0.01 of a second in swimming the same time in both the heats and the final. He finished seventh in the final in a time of 51.89. Wright, who won the B final in 51.94, is waiting for his best event, the 50 metres freestyle.