Stunning silver seals Britain's best-ever performance at an Olympic GamesAugust 1, 2021
Great Britain have rewritten the history books after winning an amazing eight Olympic swimming medals at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The Men’s Medley Relay quartet of Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott set a new European record of 3:27.51 as they won a stunning silver in the final race of an exhilarating competition to seal the highest British swimming medal total in 113 years.
Team GB finished with an impressive haul of four golds, three silvers and one bronze to leave them third in the swimming medal table behind America and Australia.
It is the most medals ever won by the Brits at an Olympic Games – eclipsing the four golds, two silvers and one bronze in London 1908.
In winning a silver in the Medley Relay, Duncan Scott also became Britain’s most decorated Olympic swimmer with a total of six – two from Rio 2016 and four in Tokyo, while Peaty now has five.
Britain were in contention for a gold throughout a thrilling medley relay race but were beaten by 0.73 seconds by America, who set a new world record time of 3:26.78 to top the podium.
Italy took the bronze medal after finishing in 3:29.17.
Greenbank was narrowly outside his 100m Backstroke personal best time of 53.34 as he clocked 53.63 with Britain sitting seventh after 100m.
By the time Peaty had completed the breaststroke leg in an incredible time of 56.53 – the fastest ever in a relay – the British team had stormed to the front and had a 0.47 lead.
Guy gave it his all on the butterfly as he touched in 50.27 but Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel had given the US the lead heading into a the final swim.
And although a determined Scott swam another quick anchor leg, he couldn’t claw his way best Zach Apple.
The team admitted they were slightly disappointed not to have taken the gold but Peaty said that just showed the high standards they had now set themselves.
He said: “I lay it all down. I knew I had to go an extremely fast time – and that was an extremely fast time.
“Unfortunately we just didn’t do enough to take that gold. It was pretty close to a world record swim and you can’t ask for more.
“With the success British Swimming has had – and all of us have had – sometimes you need a little bit of pain and that’s painful.
Medals all over the place
“People at home will say you’ve got an Olympic silver but that’s the standard we are at now.
“We’re not looking at bronze and silver now, we are looking at how to get gold. That’s just my mindset.
“I know theses guys are disappointed with that as well and that’s just an honest opinion about our performance ad what we thought we could do.”
Guy added: “The way this week has been for British Swimming, it’s been unbelievable – medals all over the place.
“If someone had said this to us in 2015-16 we would have literally ripped their hand off.
“We’ve had a great week so far. We’re a bit sad not to get the gold today but we’ve all played our part.”
Greenbank said: “It’s frustrating to be second today with the momentum the team has had this week.
“But it’s just been an incredible result and we can build on this and definitely come back stronger.”
Scott added: “I’m very fortunate to be a part of some very excellent relay teams – this being one of them.
“Initially, we’re pretty disappointed but in 2015, when we started coming together, back to back Olympic silvers in this event, we would have taken that all day.
“We were coming in here to really challenge the Americans like we did last time at worlds. Looking at the splits, we all swam well.
“It’s been a tough week but we have got to be happy with that.”
Peaty added that the British Swimming team had come a long way.
“It’s very important to reflect on this and how we get better,” he said.
“Now it’s time for rest, recovery, celebration because we’ve had the best Games we have ever had in history as a British team and it’s great to be a part of that and contribute as much as we can to that.
“We will go hard again. A lot of these boys will take a big break as sport is hard – it’s 24/7, three six five for seven years but we have come a long way.”
Tough one … but Ben still motivated
Ben Proud said his equal fifth-placed finish in the Men’s 50m Freestyle was a tough one to take – but he was motivated to keep swimming.
The 26-year-old was 0.15 seconds off a podium place after clocking 21.72 in a race which was won by American Caeleb Dressel in an Olympic record time of 21.07.
An emotional Proud, who finished fourth in the 50m Freestyle at the Rio 2016 Games, said: “It’s a tough one, that’s for sure.
“I wish I could have brought something home but that’s just how it is – it just didn’t happen.
“[Swimming] has taken me on an amazing journey. It’s been a tough couple of years but I’m still motivated to come back and keep swimming.
“My family, my girlfriend, everyone, they’ve been massively supportive. I’ve got a couple of years left.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Jervis finished fifth in the Men’s 1500m Freestyle final in a time of 14:55.48.