Stirling swimmer Kathleen Dawson crowned Olympic champion

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Kathleen Dawson (right) wins gold
Kathleen Dawson (right) with her fellow gold medallists. (Ian MacNicol / Olympic Games 2021 / Getty Images).

University of Stirling swimmer Kathleen Dawson has won Olympic gold after Team GB smashed the world record in the Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay.

The 23-year-old, from Kirkcaldy, put in an excellent performance in the first backstroke leg in the inaugural Olympic event - before handing over to teammates Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin. The quartet and heats swimmer Freya Anderson have now made history as the first Olympic champions in the event, with a new world record of 3:37.58.

It is the University's fourth medal of the Games - following Duncan Scott's gold and two silvers earlier in the week.

This is now officially Britain’s joint-best swimming performance in Olympic history, with four golds, two silvers and one bronze medal to their names – the same tally as London 1908 – with one day of competition to come.

Speaking after the race, Dawson said: "It's surreal, unbelievable what we've done - I couldn't have imagined this in my wildest dreams!"

Dawson also paid tribute to the Team GB coaches - which includes the University of Stirling's Head Performance Swim Coach, Steven Tigg. She said: "We just wouldn’t be here without them. They definitely got us to where we are right here."

Kathleen Dawson (right) wins gold

Kathleen Dawson (right) won the University's fourth medal of the Tokyo Games. Credit: Ian MacNicol / Olympic Games 2021 / Getty Images.

Speaking from Tokyo, Steven Tigg paid tribute to Kathleen's outstanding achievement.

He said: "Kathleen has been so steady in this championship - she has carried herself impeccably, despite struggling with a slight injury in the lead up and during the meet. It has been so impressive to see.

"After her anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2018, this achievement may have seemed impossible. But the support in place within the programme, along with her determination, has culminated in her dream becoming a reality.

"When I spoke to Kathleen after the race, she was still in a bit of shock - but being an Olympic champion and world record breaker does that!"

Looking back on the race, he said: "The Mixed Medley is a really exciting event. I have been fortunate to lead the GB team since 2017 and we have just enough pieces to complete the puzzle, as well as some amazing back up athletes.

"China and the USA led off with two incredibly strong males either side of us and Kathleen had to stand her ground and not be fazed or bullied - it's her lane and she controls what happens in it. Passing over to Adam, James and Anna was more than enough to get the job done.

"We have one more day of competition tomorrow morning and look forward to sending Team GB out with a bang!"

Outstanding achievement

Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “I am absolutely delighted by Kathleen Dawson’s outstanding achievement in Tokyo – winning gold and setting a new world record in the inaugural Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay.

“Kathleen led her team out in the first leg with great determination and professionalism – with China and the United States applying pressure in the neighbouring lanes – before her teammates put in equally impressive performances to bring home the gold for Team GB. I offer Kathleen, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin our warmest congratulations from the University of Stirling.

“Kathleen's success, combined with Duncan Scott's podiums earlier in the week, takes the University of Stirling's medal tally at the Games to four – an outstanding and well-deserved return that reflects the success of our high performance swim programme, led by Steve Tigg and his team.”

Duncan Scott won gold in the Men's 4x200m Freestyle and silver in the Men's 200m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley. He is expected to swim in tomorrow's 4x100m Medley Relay - giving him the opportunity to become the first British athlete to win four medals at an individual Games.

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