Another day, 和, pinch yourself, yet another gold for Great Britain at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. This time it was the quartet of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin, who broke the world record in the 4x100m mixed medley relay with a time of 3min 37.58sec. China took silver, and Australia the bronze, but it wasn’t close. It was Great Britain’s seventh swimming medal of the Olympics. If they win one more in the men’s 4x100m medley relay on Sunday, this will be their most successful Games ever.
This was the first time the mixed medley has been included on the Olympic programme, and the novelty made for an interesting array of different tactics. The USA, who looked to have the strongest quartet, were the only team who put a man, Caeleb Dressel, on the final freestyle leg. It was asking a lot of Dressel, who’d already won the 100m butterfly final, and the second semi-final of the 50m freestyle, earlier in the morning. In the end he was too far back to catch four of the women ahead of him. Australia also included two gold-medal winning swimmers, Kaylee McKeown, and Emma McKeon, who had already been in action earlier in the session.
Great Britain’s four all came to it fresh. They led off with Dawson on the backstroke leg, and were sixth after the first 100m. Peaty, who swam a 56.78sec split, put them up into fourth, and Guy turned in a 50sec fly leg, which gave them a lead that Hopkin held onto with her final freestyle leg of 52sec dead. That vindicated the team’s decision to leave out Duncan Scott, despite his red hot form. The only way they could have made room for him was by leaving out Guy, who is their strongest butterfly swimmer. But Scott will have another chance to win his fourth medal of the Games in the men’s 4x100m medley.