Monday night at the World Swimming Championships was always likely to be a special night for British fans but if Adam Peaty’s 100m breaststroke gold was a shock to no-one, the same could not be said for long-time friend Ben Proud in the 50m butterfly.
Just 45 minutes separated the two swims – arguably Britain’s greatest hour of World Championship swimming – with Peaty warming the crowd up before Proud raised the roof.
And afterwards Proud explained that the pair, who are born barely three months apart, have been on the same path for a long time now, even if global superstar Peaty has reached the top a little quicker.
He said: “With me and Adam Peaty we were very, very close before the Commonwealth Games (in 2014) and we both went on to win golds there.
“And he just kept on moving forwards. For me it might not have been the fairytale story where I went to my first worlds and won my first gold, it took a little bit more time.
“But seeing Adam Peaty, he has really taken Britain a step forwards. It's made it easier for that next person to go up and win gold.
“We saw it two years ago with James Guy (at the World Championships in Kazan). Hopefully there will be some more this week. Britain's a force to be reckoned with right now. I'm looking forward to seeing more people on the podium.”
Proud lowered his own British record to win the 50m fly final in 22.75 seconds, becoming Britain’s first long-course fly world champion in the process.
Earlier Peaty had blown away the field in the 100m breaststroke, finishing more than a second clear in 57.47.
His ambition of breaking the 57-second barrier will have to wait, but the Olympic champion is confident he can add to his tally of four world titles – the most by any Brit in the World Aquatics Championships – in the shorter 50m.
He said: “I’m still one and a half seconds ahead of the rest of the world so I’m very happy with that. “It’s great to be out there and race the best in the world. I went out there with a lot of guts. I was out in a 26.5 which was very easy, so in the 50m we’ll see something very special.”
After Monday’s success, with Ross Murdoch and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor also in action in finals, finishing eighth and seventh respectively, there could be more on Tuesday.
Sarah Vasey, in the 100m breaststroke, and Kathleen Dawson, in the 100m backstroke, both made finals on their World Championship debuts, while Duncan Scott and James Guy are ranked one and two heading into the final of the 200m freestyle.
And while Scott was world number one in the 100m free before the Championship, the was keen to remind everyone that he is a 200m swimmer first and foremost.
“I’ve always been a 200m swimmer,” said Scott.
“It went away somewhere with focusing on the 100m, I had that individual race in Rio so that become slightly more of the focus.
“But in 2014 I broke onto that Scottish team (at the Commonwealth Games), and then in 2015 Kazan so it’s always been in the perspective of things. The 200m free is what I train for. So I’m delighted it’s come through.”