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Steve Parry: Freestyle relay team can dominate event after perfect performance

Olympian and BBC 5 Live commentator Steve Parry gives his reaction to Team GB’s third swimming Olympic gold medal of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Steve Parry praised the perfect team performance from Britain’s Men’s 4x200m Freestyle relay squad – and predicted they could go on to dominate the event.

Tom Dean, James Guy, Matt Richards and Duncan Scott set a new European record as they stormed to victory to claim the third swimming gold medal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

They clocked 6:58.58, the third fastest time in history, and were 3.23 seconds clear of the second-placed Russians, with America failing to reach the podium.

“After the last two days, that’s the perfect next chapter,” said Parry. “To beat America, Australia and Russia, such powerhouses in this event for as far back as I can remember, was perfect.

“They dominated didn’t they, especially when it came to Matt Richards and Duncan Scott at the back end.

“Everyone played their part in the relay with the perfect outcome.

“There was some talk about the world record but let’s get some things into perspective. We’ve not won a relay Olympic gold medal since 1908 and this is something that should be savoured.

“The world record would have just been the cherry on the top. Us being 5m or more ahead of Australia and America, that was the real moment.

“I can’t see any of theses lads retiring anytime soon because they can go on to donate the event.”

Parry was quick to acknowledge Dean’s contribution after a whirlwind 24 hours for the 21-year-old now double Olympic champion – while hailing ‘role model’ Guy.

“I can’t imagine what the last 24 hours will have been like for Tom Dean,” said Parry.

“All the emotion that he has had to deal with all the attention, drug testing, everything that comes with being a gold medallist, press conferences etc.

“He had a really tough job to back that up leading out first.

“I haven’t seen James stop crying in the last 24 hours. He’s crying over the lads [yesterday], he was crying at the end of the lane, he was crying when he got the medal.

“It just goes to show what a moment that was for him and the team.

“James is a great role model. He was brilliant in 2015 when he won the World Championships and he was brilliant again today. 

“They all left it on the line – the splits they were posting were absolutely brilliant.

“In terms of James being a role model, I know he wants to inspire the kids to do it as well. He has been dreaming of being an Olympic gold medallist since he was a little boy and he has done it, he’s done it.

“To watch that realisation was unreal.”

Abbie unlucky… future bright for Jacob

Parry had sympathy for Abbie Wood, who missed out on bronze medal by 0.11 seconds in the 200m Individual Medley.

“You could throw a blanket over those four swimmers over those last couple of metres,” he said.

“I was sure with 10m to go she was going to get a medal as she is so strong on the back half of that 200m IM. But the American girls are tough as well and she was unlucky not to get the touch.

“It’s an Olympic Gamers and the margins are so tight.

“I think the 200 medley was her best shout of a medal but she has another shot in the 200 breaststroke. 

“She needs to put that [IM]  to one side and focus on the next.

“But the momentum the British team have got, they are going to come back tomorrow like it’s day one and be fired up and ready to go.”

Parry also said Olympic debutant Jacob Whittle has a ‘bright future’ ahead of him.

Whittle broke Simin Burnett’s 13-year English record as he finished sixth in the 100m Freestyle final at the age of 16 in a time of 48.11.

“How exciting to step up as a 16 year old and do a personal best in the semi final of the blue riband event for men,” said Parry.

“The kid has got a bright future in front of him and he will definitely grow from this experience.

“Simon Burnett was a fantastic swimmer and it’s great that [record] has now moved on to him.”