Jazmin Carlin became the first British athlete to win two medals at Rio 2016 as her 800m freestyle silver helped Team GB equal their best Olympic Games medal haul in the swimming pool since Los Angeles 1984.
Carlin, from Swindon, entered the 800m freestyle final ranked third from the heats and was to win a back and forth tussle with Hungary’s reigning European champion Boglarka Kapas for silver.
Gold went to Katie Ledecky, her fourth of the Games in Rio, in a new world record of 8:04.79 minutes with Carlin 11.38 seconds behind and Kapas a further 0.20 further adrift in third.
Carlin, who claimed world bronze in the 800m last year, won silver in the 400m freestyle on day two of the Games and a repeat over double the distance means she is Britain’s first double medallist of Rio 2016.
Team GB now have five medals in the swimming pool with one more session of competition left to go in Rio, equalling the sport’s previous best haul from the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.
“If someone had told me four years ago that I would be stood on a podium twice with two silver medals I would have said there is no way,” said Carlin.
“It has taken a lot of time to get here and there have been times when I haven’t believed in myself but my family and the all of the support staff around me have believed in me from the bottom.
“I have got great googles so I could see around me. The 800m is a tactical race, you have got to be aware of everyone in the pool who could make their move at any time. It was great to be part of such an incredible race.
“Since I was a young girl it has been a dream to go to an Olympics and to finally be here is a dream come true but to be on the podium twice with two silver medals definitely hasn’t sunk in, it feels a bit surreal.”
Elsewhere on the penultimate night of pool action in Rio, Ben Proud finished an agonising fourth in the men’s 50m freestyle while Fran Halsall set herself with a shot at a medal in the men’s equivalent.
Halsall won her semi-final 24.41 to rank fourth fastest going into the final – the first event of the last evening of race – and she believes being away from the centre lanes good play into her hands.
“It was nice to win my semi-final and it means I have earnt myself the right to compete for a medal. That was what it was all about going through the rounds and making sure I have got a lane in the final,” she said.
“I have done that and fourth fastest is kind of the perfect place to be. One of the blue lanes is a little bit less stressful than the yellow ones in the middle so that is really nice. I couldn’t have asked for a better swim.”