The GB team week in the pool just keeps getting better. Their men’s 4x200m relay didn’t just win the event, they dominated it and set a new European record. The quartet of Tom Dean, James Guy, Matthew Richards and Duncan Scott took gold in 6 minutes 58.8 seconds, which was only three hundredths of the world record set by Michael’s US team. Phelps in 2009. It was awesome Britain’s first gold in this event since 1908, and it also ended one of the longest winning streaks in Olympic swimming – it was the first times since Sydney 2000 that someone has beaten the United States in this event.
The Russian Olympic Committee won silver and Australia bronze. The United States came in fourth. It’s no coincidence, these are also the first Olympics since 2000 when they didn’t have Phelps and Ryan Lochte in their squad. With Britain in this form, it might not have made much of a difference if they had.
This victory also made Dean, who swam stage one, the first Briton to win two pool gold medals at the same Games since the same 1908 Olympics (but the second swimmer – Becky Adlington made it to Beijing in 2008). This is an extraordinary achievement for a man who lost seven weeks of winter training because he was suffering from Covid. Dean, the new Olympic 200m champion, actually completed the slowest of the four stages here. Great Britain was behind the United States when he hit the wall, but Guy swam brilliantly, and they took the lead halfway to his leg.
Guy had watched Tuesday’s 200m freestyle final from a spot in the stands and started to cry when he saw Dean and Scott win in a brace. Guy was fourth in that event in Rio in 2016, and later said he was overwhelmed with joy when his training partner, Dean, won gold here. This reaction spoke volumes about the bond between the men on the relay team. Guy and Scott go back this far, they’ve swam this event together for most of the past decade now, and were both part of the team that won silver behind the United States in Rio in 2016.
Guy was crying again now, to himself this time, as he watched Scott walk home in a final stage of 1:43.45, the fifth fastest time in history. Scott now has a gold medal with his three Olympic silver medals, and has three more events to go this week.