TOKYO – Adam Peaty said it was “inspiring” to be part of the British swimming team after they smashed the world record to win the inaugural Olympic 4x100m mixed medley relay on Saturday.
Britain have now won seven swimming medals in Tokyo, including four golds, two silvers and a bronze, matching their greatest ever medal haul at an Olympics, last achieved in 1908.
“It’s incredible,” said Peaty, who could help Britain win an eighth medal in the men’s 4x100m medley relay on Sunday.
“It’s more inspiring to be part of this team than anything could ever be.
“British swimming has flipped over. We deliver the goods and get the plane flying but there is a whole orchestra of people behind it.”
The four-strong mixed relay team of Kathleen Dawson, Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin touched in 3min 37.58sec to break the previous world record of 3:38.41 set by China in Qingdao last year.
The Chinese were second in 3:38.86 and Australia third in 3:38.95. The Caeleb Dressel-led United States were relegated to fifth.
Dressel had earlier broken the world record to win his third sprint gold in the 100m butterfly but Britain’s Hopkin was too far in front and she held off the American to secure victory.
“The guys got me such a great lead I knew I could stay ahead,” said Hopkins.
“It’s cool to say I’ve killed Dressel! I didn’t really look at where he was, I think that would have taken my focus away, but it’s pretty cool to be in the same race as him.”
Britain had their own superstar in Peaty, who took over the second leg in sixth but motored to put the team in contention.
“It’s not about getting pumped up, it’s about getting pumped down,” said Peaty.
“If I see someone ahead of me I see red mist and think I’ve gotta get them. For the first 50m it’s about control and then off the wall it’s about all the emotion, everything.”
The mixed relay was one of three swimming events debuting in Japan, along with the men’s 800m freestyle and women’s 1500m freestyle, and has been a huge success.
Teams comprised two women and two men, with each of the four swimmers allocated to one of the four traditional medley strokes – backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.
Britain chose to lead off with Dawson, up against American backstroke giant Ryan Murphy and Australia’s Kaylee McKeown, who won the 200m individual title minutes earlier.
Peaty, who won 100m breaststroke gold in Tokyo, took up the baton in sixth and climbed two places before Guy jumped in.
Guy swam a storming butterfly leg to take the lead and Hopkin brought it home ahead of China’s Yang Junxuan, Australian 100m freestyle champion Emma McKeon and a chasing Dressel.