Great Britain have won their third swimming gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics after their men’s 4x200m freestyle team produced a sensational performance to claim a dominant victory over the Russian Olympic Committee and Australia.
Tom Dean and Duncan Scott claimed their second medals in as many days after taking gold and silver in the individual event on Tuesday, but they were brilliantly supported by James Guy and Matt Richards on legs two and three.
Dean looked a tad jaded after his exploits 24 hours previously as he was outswum by the USA’s Kieran Smith on the opening leg, but Guy hauled Britain back into a slender lead before Richards poured it on to hand over to Scott with a lead of well over a second.
The race was as good as over, but the individual silver medalist made sure, with the fifth-fastest relay split in history to secure the gold. They were just three hundreths of a second away from a new world record.
By the time the boys had triumphed, there had already been one near-miss for Team GB as Abbie Wood swam a lifetime best but heartbreakingly missed out on a medal in the women’s 200m individual medley by just 0.11 seconds as Yui Ohashi delivered gold for the host nation ahead of American pair Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass.
Earlier, Australian sensation Ariarne Titmus had confirmed her status as the pool star of the Games so far as she took her second gold medal with another superb finish in the women’s 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old was only fourth at halfway, with Hong Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey having set a tremendous early pace, well inside the world record split at 100m, but Titmus closed best to take the win by just under half-a-second in a new Olympic record.
Titmus had been in a thrilling duel with superstar Katie Ldecky in the 400m freestyle on Monday and though the American was down in fifth in her weakest event on Wednesday morning, she did not have to wait long to claim her first gold medal of the Games - and the sixth of her career - as she routed the field in the first-ever women’s 1,500m freestyle final.
Hungary’s Kristof Milak has enjoyed Adam Peaty-esque dominance of the men’s 200m butterfly, breaking Michael Phelps’ world record when he won world gold two years ago. And the 21-year-old destroyed the field to win his first Olympic title by more than two-and-a-half seconds, breaking Phelps’ Olympic record in the process.
Britain’s James Wilby catapulted himself into medal contention in the men’s 200m breaststroke after an aggressive swim that saw him almost a second under world record pace at halfway before qualifying second-fastest for the final, while team-mate Alys Thomas also produced a terrific display to sneak into the final of the women’s 200m butterfly as the eighth-fastest qualifier.
US star Caeleb Dressel was back in the water winning his semi-final of the men’s 100m freestyle but will have his work cut out in the final after the Russian Olympic Committee’s Kliment Kolesnikov broke the Olympic record to qualify fastest in the other semi.