Olympics-Swimming-Tears and triumph as Britain hit a 113-year high
Newsfrom JapanSports Tokyo 2020
TOKYO (Reuters) - Tears were shed and dreams came true for Britain’s 4x200m freestyle relay team as they celebrated an historic first at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday and their country’s best performance in the pool in more than a century.
Tom Dean collected his second gold medal of the Games, after winning the individual 200m on Tuesday, while a tearful James Guy joined Matthew Richards and Duncan Scott in collecting a first.
Calum Jarvis also swum in the heats.
Guy and Scott were silver medallists in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 to a U.S. team that included Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte but they started as favourites on Wednesday and lived up to expectations.
“In 2016 we came second but that was a monster achievement at the time,” said Scott, who swam the anchor leg to touch out in six minutes, 58.58 seconds.
That was 0.03 off the world record set by the United States in 2009, a different era, and 0.02 slower than the Olympic record set by the Americans in Beijing in 2008.
“We were so close to a world record in the end. If anything I’m a bit gutted,” said Scott.
The U.S. team had taken a medal from the event at every Games since 1908, apart from boycotted Moscow 1980, but that run ended with the defending champions finishing only fourth.
It was also the first time since 1908 that Britain had won three swimming golds at a single Games, with Adam Peaty retaining his 100m breaststroke title in Tokyo, and the first time in 113 years that a British male swimmer had collected two golds at one Olympics.
Wednesday was also the first time since 1908 that Britain had won the relay.
Dean swam the opening leg, followed by Guy, who lifted the team from third to first, and then Richards handed over to Scott for a comfortable victory.
“As a kid, winning an Olympic gold medal was my absolute dream. To do it finally at 25 years is pretty emotional,” said Guy, who was wiping away tears even before Scott hit the wall.
“We’re the best freestylers in the world ... it’s just amazing how things progress. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte won in Rio, now we’re the Olympic champions and that’s a dream come true.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Peter Rutherford)