Team GB ensured their place in the history books as they won the inaugural mixed 4x100m medley relay at an Olympic Games with a mesmerising world record swim at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
The quartet of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin delivered a dominant display to smash the world record by 0.83s in a time of 3:37.58, ahead of China and Australia.
It continued a remarkable competition for British swimmers, who now have four golds in their cabinet – the most for Team GB at a single Olympics since 1908 – and with the men’s 4x100m medley relay to come on Sunday, a fifth title could yet be secured for the first time ever.
Peaty, who will go again in Sunday’s relay, joined his compatriot Tom Dean as the first male British swimmer to win double gold at a Games since 1908 as he was typically dominant during the breaststroke leg – clocking a barely-believable split of 56.78.
Despite a slight slip off the wall at the start, backstroker Dawson had produced an impressive opening leg, sitting second of the teams who led off with women.
Dawson, 23, from Warrington, said: “I wasn’t going to let them bully me, I was going to swim my own race and it didn’t matter if it was two guys or two girls I was up against.”
Peaty chewed up the deficit to the three countries that started male-male and left the rest trailing.
Peaty, 26, from Uttoxeter, said: “I feel great. I was just trying to keep it as calm as I could, I get a bit carried away, especially when it’s for the team.
“It’s amazing to be swimming alongside these amazing women and Jimmy [James Guy].
“I knew that if I went out too hard, I wasn’t coming back. I just had to show my experience and maturity, not try to chase down the Americans.
“We’re the champions, let’s go and enjoy it.
“We’ve got champions who believe we can win and who believe we can break world records.
“If you’ve got belief, you can build everything around that.”
Guy then swam 50 seconds dead on the butterfly leg to put Team GB in complete control, with the decision to withdraw from his men’s 100m butterfly race to be ready for the relays paying off.
Guy, 25, from Bury, said: “It’s my fastest split ever by 0.5 seconds. Gold medal, world record, you can’t beat that, especially when it’s for the team.
“I was quite upset [about pulling out of the 100m butterfly] – I cried again, obviously – but it has paid off and it was worth it to go and do that time.
“To do this with one of my best mates in Adam and the two girls, we’re all northerners – it’s amazing!”
Hopkin never looked likely to relinquish the lead on the freestyle as she touched the wall 1.28s ahead of China in second.
Hopkin, 25, from Chorley, said: “I was trying not to think about how far ahead we were from them because it’s just irrelevant when you’re there and in a race.
“When I turned, I saw I had a bit of clear water and I just went for it. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m so privileged to be part of this team.”
The United States – the only team to go with a male freestyler – had left superstar Caeleb Dressel too much to do as they came home fifth.
In what has been an historic gala for Team GB’s swimmers, this latest success only added to the legend.