Adam Peaty has set out Team GB’s mission to ‘dominate the world’ of swimming after leaving Tokyo 2020 with their best ever Olympic medal haul.
Britain won silver behind the USA in the men’s 4x100metres medley relay – the last event at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre – to take their tally to eight medals, eclipsing the seven won at London 1908.
Peaty himself leaves with two gold medals and one silver, while Duncan Scott became the first Team GB athlete in any sport to win four gongs in a single Games.
Team GB eclipsed their best ever Olympic medal haul in swimming with a silver in the men’s 4x100metres medley
The USA set a new world record to beat Britain to the gold medal on Sunday morning
The world champion quartet of Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty , James Guy and Duncan Scott were beaten in a thrilling finish
Explaining how Britain have transformed their fortunes in the pool, Peaty said: ‘It’s the culture now. ‘Ten years ago we were happy making finals. We aren’t happy making finals any more. We are happy medalling.
‘That’s the culture that is different now and that’s part of our success. We are aiming for gold, we are aiming to be the best in the world and dominate the world.
‘How do you do that when there is such depth, such a strong team in America? That’s going to be the golden question over the next three years.
‘By the time Paris comes around, we are going to develop as a team. I think a lot of teams are going to look at us.
Scott also became the first British athlete in any sport to win four medals at a single Games
‘We are always looking for gold, always looking for world records. I’m incredibly proud to be part of this team – its history making.’
Peaty admitted he was disappointed at not being able to add a third gold in the men’s relay as Britain came into the race as world champions.
The quartet of Luke Greenbank, Peaty, James Guy and Scott set a new European record of 3min 27.51sec but it was 0.73sec behind the American team of Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew, Caeleb Dressel and Zach Apple.
‘I don’t want it to be a disappointment but we were obviously going in there having won worlds in 2019,’ said Peaty.
‘We knew it was going to be a world record but I don’t want to take anything away from the American team. They stepped up big time. They knew they had to step up big time.
‘It’s an Olympic silver, people would die for that. We will enjoy it but there is a little bit of pain there. Maybe you need that.
‘Maybe you need that going to Paris. Now is the time for rest recover and celebration because we have had the best Games we have ever had as a British swimming team. It’s great to part of that and to contribute to that.’
Britain were seventh after Greenbank’s first backstroke leg, but Peaty brought them up to first with the fastest breaststroke split – 56.53sec – of all time.
James Guy then had to fend off 100m butterfly world record holder Dressel, whose split of 49.03sec was also the fastest in history.
Dressel’s swim gave the USA a 0.60sec lead going into the freestyle and Zach Apple was able to fend off Scott.
Peaty swam the fastest breastroke split in history but it was enough to see Britain win gold
Olympic champion Peaty wants Britain to dominate the world of swimming after Tokyo
It was a fifth gold for Dressel, who also won a silver, and joins countrymen Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi, as well as East Germany’s Kristin Otto, as the only swimmers to win that amount at a single Olympics.
However, the 24-year-old also praised Team GB and said: ‘The British have been amazing. In that relay, I was telling Adam that I think they bring out the best in us.
‘It’s so fun racing with those guys because you don’t know what you’re going to get, there’s no guaranteed winner. They have four great guys, we have four great guys.
‘That was the team to beat and it was, so it’s always fun going up against the best in the world.’
On being told of Peaty’s split time, Dressel was taken aback and said: ‘Yeah, that’s pretty good!’
Scott, meanwhile, was still coming to terms with making history as the most decorated British Olympian from a single Games.
‘It’s probably not properly settled in,’ said the 24-year-old Scottish swimmer. ‘Each race, I’ve tried to park it when it’s done and look forward to the next one.
‘It was important I didn’t bring in any disappointment or get too excited about what’s happened.
‘I think the relay culture in Britain is great. I’ve got to give a massive credit to my team-mates.’