Clash of the tattoo titans: Adam Peaty sees Team GB’s gold hat-trick at the Tokyo Olympics… but US swimmer Caeleb Dressel stands in his way in mixed and men’s medleys
You hadn’t forgotten him, had you? After the freestyle medal frenzy of the past few days, even the great Adam Peaty was a little confused.
But the man who sparked Team GB’s pool gold rush — and their emergence as a new swimming superpower — is now back in action and hungry to make more history this weekend.
Peaty became the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title on Monday when he won the 100m breaststroke. Over the next two days, however, he cheered from the stands as Tom Dean and Duncan Scott delivered a Team GB one-two in the 200m freestyle before winning the 4x200m freestyle relay alongside James Guy and Matt Richards.
A fascinating battle awaits between Adam Peaty and Caeleb Dressel in both the mixed and men’s medleys
A great showman like Peaty doesn’t stay away from the center for long, though. And he reminded everyone that he has unfinished business here in the mixed 4x100m medley relay heats on Thursday. The team of Kathleen Dawson, Peaty, James Guy and Freya Anderson qualified fastest for Saturday’s final in a time of 3 minutes 38.75 seconds – a European record and just 0.34 seconds behind China’s best in the world. Now Peaty wants her to win the inaugural Olympic event.
If they can pull that off, Peaty will be lining up to make it a golden hat-trick on Sunday. Only Henry Taylor – a swimmer in the early 1900s – and cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny have managed to take three golds for Team GB at the same Olympics. But Peaty, Guy, Scott and Luke Greenbank are world champions in the 4x100m medley and the win would crown the glorious Games of British swimming.
In Peaty’s way stands the towering figure of Caeleb Dressel. The fellow tattoo enthusiast leads the US team in both the mixed and men’s medleys.
Peaty sparked Team GB’s gold fever in the pool with victory in the 100m breaststroke
“Never say never,” Peaty said of his history mission. “If there’s one thing I’ve had in the past 18 months that hasn’t taken away from me, it’s faith. I like doing the relay. It’s something very powerful, racing with teammates that you’ve been racing with for a long time. We have unity, but also brotherhood. We’re really going to give the relays everything.’
It’s a sign of these crazy times that Team GB’s failure to increase their pool medals on Thursday came as a disappointment. Still, they remain on track to break their Olympic record – the seven won in London in 1908.
‘The peat effect’ has been credited with fueling the sea change in the country’s fortunes in the water. But Peaty said, “Over the past six years, the culture and the ethos and everything we live by has evolved into something idolized by other teams.
“It was great to get off to a rolling start on the second day with a gold medal in the 100m. But what those other guys did is just remarkable. It just goes to show that British swimming is really going from strength to strength.”
Dressel, dubbed the US’s next Michael Phelps, hopes to destroy Peaty’s dreams