The top two teams in each of the initial five heats automatically qualified for the semi-final. The next six fastest team from across the heats also qualified. The top three teams in each of the semi-finals automatically qualified for the final. The next two fastest team from the semi-finals also qualified.
These were the standing world and Olympic records (in seconds) prior to the 2000 Summer Olympics.
<nowiki>*</nowiki> Athletes who participated in the heats only and received medals.