World Championships, Day Six Finals: Tom Dean Anchors Britain To 4×200 Relay Gold

Tom Dean of Great Britain competes in the Men's Freestyle 200m Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 24th, 2023.
Tom Dean: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships, Day Six Finals: Tom Dean Anchors Britain To 4×200 Relay Gold

An anchor leg of 1:43.84 by Tom Dean steered the British 4×200 relay squad to victory in as they claimed the title for the third time at the World Championships in Fukuoka.

Lukas Martens gave Germany the lead at the first changeover in 1:44.79 with Duncan Scott second in 1:45.42 and Kai Taylor guiding Australia into third in 1:45.79.

Matt Richards split 1:44.65 to steer Britain into a slight lead over the USA which was maintained by James Guy who went 1:45.17 to hold off Jake Mitchell (1:45.06) as the Olympic champions went into the final leg with a 0.31 lead.

Dean – who won silver behind Richards in the individual event – guided them home in 6:59.08 ahead of the USA (7:00.02) with Australia third in 7:02.13.

France (7:03.86), Italy (7:03.95), Korea with a national record of 7:04.07, Germany (7:06.14) and Brazil (7:06.43) completed the field.

James Guy Glasgow

Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

It was Richards’ second gold of the meet while Dean now has a medal of each colour following 200 free silver and 2IM bronze.

Scott added the relay title to his 2IM silver while Guy claimed his fifth world title, eight years since he first stood on the top of the podium at Kazan 2015 with the Scot also getting gold after swimming the prelims.

There had been talk of a WR given Britain missed out by just 0.03 en-route to Olympic gold in Tokyo but the standard of 6:58.55 held by the USA since the 2009 World Championships is safe for some time yet.

So while Michael Phelps‘ last individual world record was eclipsed by Leon Marchand in the 4IM, he still holds two relay marks, in the 4×1 free and 4×2.

Earlier this month, Scott described Guy as having been at the forefront of the 4×2 and its progress from surprise winners to a sense of expectation.

Guy said:

“Across the last few years and winning it in Tokyo, I think tonight we kind of knew we were the favourites deep down.

“We’re not taking things for granted at all – it’s obviously nice to win – but I think the world record was in the back of our heads a little bit.

“But everything happens for a reason I think: winning tonight was really, really nice.

“It’s our first time together since Tokyo and it shows we’re in a great place to build on that for next year in Paris.

“And at the end of the day just enjoy what we’re doing.

“We’re racing the best guys in the world on the world stage and it’s an honour to do that, represent your country, but hopefully we can progress that next year and go a little faster in our own individual swims.”

Dean: Compartmentalising & Looking Ahead

Victory was in stark contrast to the 4×100 free where Britain was DQd and will have to travel to Doha for the 2024 World Championships to qualify for the Olympics.

Dean – who trains with Guy at Bath Performance Centre – said the team had to “park it and move on and focus on the 4×2.”

“I knew when the four boys came together something special would happen like it did last time we were in Japan.

“So it’s just a case of completely compartmentalising that, leaving it at the start of the week and just cracking on.”

Richards was 12 when Britain first won the title in Kazan and the 20-year-old became the second British man to win the individual title following Guy’s trailblazing victory in 2015.

18th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials Duncan Scott

Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

He said:

“It’s great. After that 1-2 we got on the 200 free, I think we knew we were in good shape for a great week.

“We’ve seen some really great performances across the board from Jim and Duncan in their own individual races as well so we knew tonight was going to be something special.”

It was Scott’s seventh worlds medal and fourth relay gold across four editions.

“I knew the boys either side of me are really good quality.

“Both of them were in the 200 free final and they’ve done some fast times this meet.

“I just had to try to work the race in and around that put the boys into a good position.

“I thought I delivered that quite well, relying on my back end.

“It’s just a good chance for us to come together and put down a good performance.”

Smith & Taylor

Kieran Smith finished seventh in the individual in 1:46.10 but he steered the USA home with an anchor leg of 1:44.47.

He said:

“After the individual 200 free, we obviously knew that Great Britain was going to be the biggest factor in this race. But we never lost sight of trying to win that gold medal, fighting as hard as we can.

“I know that my performance wasn’t up to my standard in the 200 free, and I let them know that I wouldn’t let them down here. We fought like hell and silver is a good result.

“We actually swam faster this year than we did last year to win the gold medal. That’s a good performance.”

He added:

“No matter who’s on the quartet here, the standard is gold medals. The standard is world records, every time we swim on relays. It doesn’t matter who the faces are.

“And it’s awesome because when we come here with six guys from our Trials, we know every one of those guys is going to have a great split.”

Carson Foster – who went 1:44.49 on the second leg to guide the USA from fourth to second – added relay silver to second in the 400IM.

He said:

“A lot of swims this week, but that’s what I train for. It’s an emotional week. It’s just as hard emotionally as it is physically. I had some ups and downs, but I have a great support system, and that’s who got me through it.”

Taylor handed over to Kyle Chalmers with Australia in third following his lead-off, a position they never looked like relinquishing.

They eventually finished 1.73secs ahead of France, Taylor saying:

“The race was amazing. All the boys came together and did what we needed to do. We would have liked to have either gotten second or first, but you know, we’ve all put in a massive effort and we couldn’t be prouder of each other. And bronze, we will take that.”


2023-07-28 (4)

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10 months ago

The WR survived because it’s from the supersuit era

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