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Record-breaking relay team seal Britain's third Olympic swimming gold

Great Britain’s record-breaking swimming squad have sealed a third gold medal at an Olympic Games for the first time since 1908 after a stunning performance from the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle team.

Olympic champion Tom Dean, James Guy, Matt Richards and individual silver medallist Duncan Scott set a new European record of 6:58.58 to top the podium by a whopping 3.23 seconds.

It was just about perfect from the British quartet who lived up to their billing of being race favourites after qualifying from yesterday’s semi-finals almost two seconds faster than the rest of the field.

Dean led the team out with a 1:45.72 and they were third behind USA and Russia when Guy took over.

However, Guy clawed back the American’s advantage of almost a second with a 1:44.40 swim to put Britain ahead as 18-year-old Richards dived in for the third leg.

It was a hugely impressive swim from Richards, who recorded a time of 1:45.01 to give Scott a 1.5 second lead.

And he was in no mood to relinquish it as he touched home in 1:43.23 to spark wild celebrations among the team.

Guy, who was part of the team which finished second at the 2016 Rio Games, was visibly emotional as he celebrated a ‘dream come true’.

He said: “As a kid, I was dreaming of an Olympic gold medal.

“To do it finally after 25 years is pretty emotional. These four lads are the best freestylers in the world. My [National Centre Bath] team-mate [Dean] and Duncan are first and second is amazing.

“We are Olympic champions and it’s a dream come true.”

For Dean, it was a second gold medal in the space in only 24 hours after winning the 200m Freestyle individual race.

He said: “I can’t put it into words – I couldn’t yesterday and I don’t think I can today.

“It’s unreal.”

Really special

Richards said: “When racing with guys like this, having a great leg comes easy.

“I think when they set you up as well as they did and then you have literally  one of the best freestylers in the world – and one of the best freestylers ever – going in straight behind you, the privilege and confidence that gives someone of my age, money can’t buy it.”

Scott joked afterwards he was ‘gutted’ the team hadn’t managed to set a new world record – they were only 0.03 seconds outside the time set by the Americans in Rome in 2009.

He said: “Myself and Jimmy have been on so many four by twos together.

“We’ve managed to win the worlds, Europeans and in 2016 came second, which was a monster achievement at the time.

“It was really special with those boys. Matt in third was so composed and the boys up front executed their race plan really well.

“So close to a world record at the end – if anything I’m a bit gutted.”

Dean was quick to pay tribute to Calum Jarvis, who swam in the semi-final to allow Scott to rest.

He said: “A big thanks to Calum Jarvis, sitting there in the crowd.

“We couldn’t have done it without him.”