Saturday, July 31, 2021

Gold and world record for Britain’s mixed medley

There was more medal success in the pool as Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin struck gold and broke the world record in the inaugural mixed 4x100m medley relay, making Tokyo 2020 Britain’s joint-best swimming performance in Olympic history, with four golds, two silvers and one bronze medal to their names, the same tally as London 1908 and there is still one day of competition to come.

University of Stirling athlete Kathleen Dawson, who went head to head with male swimmers in the adjacent lanes, led things off on the backstroke, and despite slipping off the wall at the start, kept her head and clawed back some of the early lead her rivals had, before handing over to Olympic Champion Peaty for the breaststroke leg. 

Peaty is such a powerhouse, that his sub 57 second split had the GBR team up with the leaders as he handed over to James Guy for the butterfly. Guy, who had sacrificed his individual 100m butterfly to focus on the relays, was impressive and by the time he handed over to Anna Hopkin, GBR were in the lead.

Hopkin still had to bring the team home, and knowing that the likes of Caeleb Dressel (USA) was also in the water for the final leg, she held her nerve and powered the team home to victory in a new world record time of 3:37.58. China won silver in 3:38.86 and Australia the bronze in 3:38.95.

The team said of their performance,

Kathleen Dawson: “I wasn’t going to let anyone bully me. I was going to swim my own race and it didn’t matter if it was two girls or two boys beside me. It’s honestly more than I could ever have hoped for. If you’ve had told me back at the end of 2018 when I had my knee injury that I’d be an Olympic champion at the end of a delayed Olympics, I wouldn’t have believed you!"

Adam Peaty: “I’m feeling great. Mel (Marshall, coach) was just trying to keep me as calm as I can. I get a bit carried away especially when it’s for the team. That just proves tomorrow is going to be another good race, but right now, it’s amazing to be part of this with these amazing women and Jimmy. My legs were shaking when I dived in, I had so much adrenaline. Jimmy knows if I go out too fast I’m not coming back. I had to show my experience, show my maturity, and not get carried away chasing down the Americans. Right now we are the Champions and we’re going to enjoy it.”

James Guy: “Pulling out of the 100m fly, it really hurt me doing that. I probably could have medalled tonight. But it paid off. Gold medal and world record, you can’t beat that, especially with this team.”

Anna Hopkin: I wasn’t trying to think about how far ahead we were from them as it’s just irrelevant when you’re in the water and still racing. When I turned, I could see I still had a good bit of water between us and I just went for it. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m so privileged to be in this team.”

With British swimmers enjoying great success in these Games, Peaty commented on the performances of the team,

“One word that has changed the whole team is ‘belief’. We’ve got champions who believe we can win, champions you believe we can get a world record. If you’ve got one belief you can build everything around that. We’ve shown that tonight by being almost a second under the world record.”

As well as the team paying tribute to Freya Anderson, who swam in the heats, Dawson paid tribute to the coaches who also played their part, saying: “We just wouldn’t be here without them. They definitely got us to where we are right here.”

There are no further heat sessions, the last session of swimming is Sunday morning.

The schedule and results for the swimming meet can be found HERE.

Finals begin at 2.30am GMT.

Heats begin at 11am GMT.

If you are inspired by the performances of our athletes in Tokyo please visit our Inspired to Try microsite to find a club near you, and get involved.