University of Stirling swimmer Duncan Scott has won his first Olympic gold after helping power Team GB to victory in the Men's 4x200m Freestyle final.
The 24-year-old becomes the first Scottish swimmer to win gold at an Olympics in 45 years - the last being David Wilkie at the 1976 Montreal Games. He is also the first University of Stirling athlete to win an Olympic gold.
Scott swam the final leg of the team event, following Tom Dean, James Guy and Matthew Richards, and touched home, ahead of the second-placed Russian Olympic Team, on 6:58.58 - the third-fastest time in history and a new European record.
The victory - which makes it three Team GB golds in the pool for the first time in more than a century - came just hours after Scott took silver in the Men's 200m Freestyle, finishing just four hundredths of a second behind Dean.
In the relay event, Dean led the Brits off with a solid opening leg to hand over to Guy, who immediately set about overhauling the USA's early advantage with a superb split and establishing a lead at the halfway stage. Richards pulled clear of the field before Scott powered home in the anchor leg - leaving his elated teammates jubilant, with Guy shedding tears of joy.
Speaking after the triumph, Olympic champion Scott said: “Myself and Jimmy in particular, we’ve been on so many 4x200m Freestyle Relays together, we’ve been able to win Worlds, Europeans. In 2016, we came second and that was a monster achievement at the time, but this is really special with these boys. Matt in third was so composed and the boys up front executed their race plans so well. We were so close to the world record in the end, if anything I’m a bit gutted!”
Head Performance Swim Coach, University of Stirling
We can't wait to keep getting in the water and doing what we love. We feel really privileged and all appreciate the support from home at the University of Stirling and local area.
Steve Tigg, Head Performance Swim Coach at the University of Stirling, coaches Scott and his fellow Stirling-based Olympians Ross Murdoch, Kathleen Dawson, Cassie Wild and Aimee Willmott. Speaking from the Team GB camp in Tokyo, he said: "It was an amazing display from Duncan and the relay team - they are Olympic champions!
"The Olympics is about managing the emotional highs and lows that come with the drama of such tight, high-level competition. We'll continue to pursue team and individuals performances over the coming days by managing our energy and prioritising further success.
"Some of the athletes have now finished competing but remain fully engaged in the competition providing incredible support networks to the team.
"We can't wait to keep getting in the water and doing what we love. We feel really privileged and all appreciate the support from home at the University of Stirling and local area."
Bradley Hay, High Performance Swim Coach at the University of Stirling, works alongside Steven Tigg and the elite swimmers. He said: “Congratulations to Duncan and the rest of the 4x200m team on their gold medal - it was an outstanding performance and impressive to see them so close to breaking the world record.
“This has been a successful week for Duncan so far – having won silver on Tuesday – and he is only halfway through his programme of events. It reflects his hard work, dedication and discipline to both training and competition. Duncan has once again triumphed on the world stage – and we are all delighted for him and his teammates.
“Everyone at the University is incredibly proud of all of our swimmers who have worked tirelessly to make it to Tokyo – a massive achievement in itself – and we hope to see further success in the pool before the week's out.”
Executive Director of Sport, University of Stirling
Duncan’s professionalism is second to none and this is a well-deserved reward – and a career milestone – for his years of hard work, both in and out of the pool.
Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “Duncan Scott and his Team GB teammates have yet again produced inspirational performances on the world stage – this time delivering Olympic gold!
“I offer my personal congratulations – and send the best wishes of all at the University of Stirling – to Duncan on his first Olympic gold medal, adding to his three silvers.
“Duncan’s professionalism is second to none and this is a well-deserved reward – and a career milestone – for his years of hard work, both in and out of the pool.
“There are many bleary eyes on the University of Stirling campus this morning after our early start cheering on Duncan and the team – but our alarms are already set for the coming days, with our swimmers and our Trinidadian judoka Gabriella Wood set for further action in Tokyo.”
Fellow Stirling swimmer and former Commonwealth champion Ross Murdoch placed 12th overall in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi-final - meaning he misses out on a place in the final. He was quick to thank everyone who has helped him along the way to a second Olympic Games.
He said: “I swam quite well throughout the year, so I wouldn’t say the extra year hasn’t been in my favour. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t change my journey for all the world. It’s been such a mad ride since I moved to Stirling in 2012, it’s almost 10 years to the day since I started taking swimming seriously.
“I just want to say thanks to all the guys at West Dunbartonshire who helped me start this mission, my family and girlfriend who are probably all watching right now. Just a massive thanks to everybody who has been on the journey and we’ll keep going.”
Duncan Scott returns to action later today [Wednesday 28 July] in the Men's 200m Individual Medley heats, Cassie Wild will compete in the Women's 200m Backstroke heats tomorrow, and both Scott and Kathleen Dawson are expected to return in relay events over the weekend.