(from L to R) James Guy, Tom Dean, Duncan Scott and Matthew Richards celebrate their glory swim (Image: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock)
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On the banks of the Thames they partied like it was the night before.
Half past four in the morning and there they were, more of them this time, stood in the darkness watching British swimming history made in Japan.
Once again, 6,000 miles away in Tokyo’s Aquatic Centre, Tom Dean did not let them down.
Roared on from afar by family and friends in his garden back home, the 21-year-old became the first British male since 1908 to win two swimming gold medals in the same Games.
This time he did it with his mates; with James Guy and Matt Richards and Duncan Scott with whom he had completed an historic 1-2 the day before.
The quartet won the 4 x 200m freestyle relay so easily they needed binoculars to see the Russian runners-up still halfway down the baths.
They finished an unimaginable 3.23 seconds clear and Guy was into his second box of Kleenex by the time defending champions USA finished out of the medals in fourth.
Dean, Guy, Richards and Scott on podium in Tokyo
“The last 24 hours have been unreal, a complete whirlwind,” said Dean who, lest we forget, was struck down by Covid for a second time as recently as January.
“It feels pretty special. Double Olympic champion sounds pretty good. The first was pretty special. Backing it up with the boys for a second is better than I could have asked for.”
The one regret was that family and friends could not be present to share the moment he led off before Guy took over, Richards built on the lead and Scott brought it home in a European record 6:58.58.
Scott brings it home as Dean, Richards and Guy celebrate
But back home his mum was doing her best to make up for it, inviting half of Maidenhead round to share the glory moment.
“The watch party that we had for Tom’s individual race was spontaneous but it was such a joyous occasion we thought why not do it again,” she said.
“To not be there at the biggest event of his life is really tough, so recreating something for him that he can watch when he comes back was the least we could do.
Dean, who swam lead-off leg, was cheered on from home by family and friends at a watch party
(Image: Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock)
“You can’t see spectators in the stands so for the athletes to know that people at home were really uplifted by their efforts I think is really something special.”
Not that there was any shortage of emotion poolside where Guy, in particular, was beside himself.
“As a young lad I dreamt of Olympic gold, all I've ever wanted in my life is to get that and now I've done it,” he said. “It just shows if you've got a plan, you work hard and you believe in yourself, it can happen.
Looks who's Olympic champions: Dean points to scoreboard confirming Britain's European record time
(Image: Getty Images)
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“All the early mornings, all the years of getting up at 10 past four, we're here and it's finally nice to do it.”
Richards, just 18, and Scott, who had missed out by 0.04secs in the individual, also picked up their first gold medals.
Their feat means Britain have now won three in swimming at an Olympics for the first time for 113 years. And Adam Peaty still has two relays to come.