The final day only had one session during mid-afternoon, and a close battle between Australia and USA in the medals race was marred by a disqualification.
The Americans won three of the four events, winning the medals race with 35 (13-10-12), although Australia tied the USA for total golds with 31 (13-12-6). South Africa's 9 (3-1-5) medals edged out Canada's 11 (2-1-5) in golds.
Jenny Thompson (USA) was off to a good start. At the 25 she had a slight lead, but Sarah Ryan (RSA) in lane 8 drew level with Thompson and was ahead with 10 metres remaining. Ryan's stroke rate faded marginally to let Thompson back in for a win. Thompson's winning time was 25.51, with 25.95 for Ryan and 25.94 for Liesl Kolbisen (USA) in third.
Grant Hackett (AUS) fought off a head cold to post the third fasest time in history in the 1500 freestyle. His 14:45.60 was just four seconds off the world record. It continued a streak of Australian distance winners that started in 1991. He hopes to better 14:40 at the Australian Trials next May.
"I haven't had a great week," Hackett said. "I was a bit sick. I just wanted to get up and win this event. I went out hard and just tried to hang on. I was really focused on my technique when I was hurting, that was the key to my pace-I'm thrilled-this crowd here is unbelieveable."
Ryk Neethling (RSA) finished in second, just missing the 15-minute barrier with 15:02.40. He had a great meet nevertheless, with thirds in the 200 and 400 free.
Chris Thompson (USA), in third with 15:04.68, was the fastest American since 1988.
The USA won this event convincingly over the Australians to put them in front of the gold medal race. Always in the lead, the USA won in 4:03.49, with Australia finishing in 4:05.79 and Japan in 4:07.14.
Swimming supremacy came down to the final race. The winner would win the gold medal race.
The USA took a big lead after Lenny Krayzelburg's backstroke lead-off and held on throughout the various changeovers to win with 3:36.37. Australia, desperately trying to catch up throughout the race, had anchor Michael Klim leave half a body-length behind Neil Walker, the anchor for the USA who split 48.52, touching ahead of the Aussies. Klim tried to close the gap, but his split of 47.78 was not enough, giving the Aussies their final time of 3:36.54 for second. The disappointment turned into frustration when he learned he had taken off early and the team was disqualified.
"I knew we were behind," Klim said. "I would have to go if we were to have a chance of winning the race and the meet. Better now than next year. In the end it has not made a difference in this meet."
A philosophical Don Talbot summed it up. "It was down to the last relay and we needed to win. It's a case of trying too hard. We've got to live with that. But we still had a great meet."