SCOTTISH swimmers Dan Wallace and Robbie Renwick were celebrating another gold medal last night as part of a stunning men’s 4x200 metres freestyle relay triumph for Great Britain at the FINA Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia on Friday.
It was a sensational victory as the team’s anchor man, James Guy, the 200m freestyle champion, surged through in the final leg to overtake the US team, who had led from the start.
The British team, which also included Welshman Calum Jarvis, clocked 7:04.43, finishing 0.42 seconds ahead of the USA, who included multiple world and Olympic champion Ryan Lochte. Australia were 1.01 adrift in in third.
While Britain had never won gold in a men’s relay at worlds, the US team had won this event at every world championships since 2005. .
That record looked as though it would be maintained when Lochte led his team off and went in front. Conor Dwyer and Reed Malone kept them there, but Guy closed the gap during the final 200 metres before passing inexperienced US anchor Michael Weiss.
“I had it in the back of my mind that we had a chance at winning it, but I never thought it would happen, so it was quite nice,” said Guy, who is now targeting more success in the relay heading into an Olympic year.
“It was a huge team effort. The guys set it up nice and good and I knew if I was top three I had a chance of bringing it back, but I never thought we’d get the gold.
“It’s the best British team we’ve ever had and this relay is definitely something we’re going to look out for next year.
“It was all about staying calm and not getting too tense in the first 100m. You’ve just got to enjoy it.”
A rueful Lochte added: “We’re going to definitely remember this. Hopefully, we’re going to train our butts off all next year and, hopefully, not let that happen again in Rio.”
The win took Britain’s total of medals in the swimming pool to eight – five of them gold.
Adam Peaty won two individual titles and was in the mixed medley relay team that triumphed, while Guy has also had a role in two victories.
There could be further success in today’s penultimate day of competition in the pool.
Fran Halsall has qualified third fastest for the women’s 50m butterfly, while Ben Proud is in the men’s 50m freestyle final.
Jaz Carlin advanced to the 800m freestyle final, although Katie Ledecky was the fastest qualifier and the American is the overwhelming favourite.
Meanwhile, a ten-year-old has set a new record as the youngest swimmer to compete at a World Championships after Alzain Tareq from Bahrain took her place in the 50m butterfly heats in Kazan.
Tareq, who has a Scottish mother, finished last in her race, clocking 41.13 seconds, and was the slowest of all the 64 participants.
The youngster hopes to make the squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“I was a bit nervous walking out there, I have never swum in front of so many spectators,” said Tareq.
“The other swimmers are often surprised. They ask me my name and how old I am and then they are like, ‘Are you swimming here?’
“I feel so happy. I want to learn the techniques and how they swim.”
Also yesterday, the “sisters of speed” kept the 100m freestyle title in the family, when Bronte Campbell led all the way against a strong field, winning in 52.52 seconds to take the title away from older sister and defending champion Cate Campbell.
“I still can’t believe that,” Bronte said.
The 21-year-old Australian sprinter was under world-record pace at the turn, with Cate in second.
Bronte held on for gold and Cate settled for bronze.
“It’s a fantastic night for the Campbell family and it’s a fantastic night for Australia,” Cate said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my little sister.”
Sarah Sjostrom, of Sweden, took silver in 52.70, a repeat of her finish two years ago in Barcelona.
Bronte earned the biggest international victory of her young career with the fastest time in the world this year, knocking her sister and Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands out of the top spot they shared.
“I’ve had a lot of good training,” Bronte said.
“That’s an advantage I’ve had over Cate because she had shoulder surgery less than a year ago.
“I’ve seen her come back from that and struggle through all the rehab, which took forever.
“I know I wouldn’t be standing on the podium without her, so the medal is really half hers anyway.”