Great summary from another blog:
It appeared though that the best was yet to come. The men’s 4X100m freestyle was spectacular. The Aussies kicked things off, as Eamon Sullivan pipped Phelps in the first leg with a world record time of 47.24. It was the French though who gained control after stunningly consistent swims. Alain Bernard was a length ahead with 25m to go, and it looked like Phelps’ attempt at eight golds was undone on day two of finals. Jason Lezak had other plans.
Swimming Success Swimming with a style that looked like he was trying to climb on the back of Bernard and drown him, he produced a superhuman effort that defied hydrodynamics and dragged himself into contention. It all came down to the touch, and the American got there 0.08 secs quicker. The world record time was an obscene 3:08.24 min - 4.93 seconds quicker than the winning time in Athens 2004!
The 4X100m freestyle is one of the two events in Athens where Phelps failed to win gold. His celebrations at the end, flexing his torso, suggests he knew this would be tough. If he goes on to make history, he’ll be forever indebted to the powerhouse Jason Lezak.