Great Britain equalled their greatest ever Olympic performance in the swimming pool in the inaugural edition of the mixed relay.
The quartet of Dawson, Peaty, Guy and Hopkin delivered Britain’s fourth gold medal of the meeting which, along with two silvers and a bronze, equals their haul from the 1908 Olympics in London.
The intrigue of this event comes from the fact that teams can choose which legs are swum by male and female athletes, leaving the field staggered until the final leg.
Dawson slipped entering the pool on the opening backstroke leg but it did not matter as Peaty on breastroke and Guy on butterfly reeled in the leaders and Hopkin, replacing Freya Anderson who had swum in the heat, brought the Brits home in a new world record time to take gold ahead of China and Australia.
For Guy and Peaty it was a second gold medal of these Games, following triumphs in the men’s 4x200m relay and 100m breaststroke respectively, with Peaty becoming only the second British swimmer to win three Olympic gold medals, after his individual triumph in Rio.
Team GB could yet exceed their 1908 record, when they go for gold in tomorrow’s men’s 4x100m medley relay, where they are defending world champions after stunning the USA in 2019.
If they are to do so they will have to repeat that success they will have to overcome the US once more, and the mighty Caeleb Dressel, who on Saturday secured his third gold medal of these Games by breaking his own world record to win the men’s 100m butterfly final, with 200m champion Kristof Milak taking the silver.
On a busy morning, Dressel was in action three times, also qualifying fastest for the final of the men’s 50m freestyle tomorrow to keep alive his hopes of leaving Tokyo with five gold medals.
Dressel’s was not the only American triumph as Katie Ledecky made it 2-2 in her personal duel with Australia’s Ariarne Titmus by taking victory in the women’s 800m freestyle.
It was Ledecky’s seventh Olympic gold medal and completed a hat-trick in the event after her triumphs in Rio and as a 15-year-old at London 2012.
By that point, Australia had already struck another blow in their fight with the US to top the swimming medal table as Kaylee McKeown claimed her second gold medal of these Games, following 100m backstroke glory with success on the 200m.