Bury St Edmunds-raised swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn helped Team GB to a silver medal in the men’s 4x100m medley relay in Rio this morning.
The 26-year-old played his part in making it Great Britain’s most successful Olympic Games in the pool since 1908, with the team finishing the last day of action in the Olympic Aquatics Centre with seven medals — six silvers and a gold.
It was Walker-Hebborn’s first Olympic medal from his second Games, having missed out on the 100m backstroke final in Rio last weekend and endured a disappointing London 2012.
The United States stormed to gold in a new world record time of three minutes 27.95 seconds as Michael Phelps bowed out by securing his fifth gold of the games and 23rd of his illustrious career.
Walker-Hebborn’s team, also including Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott, smashed their own British record of 3mins 30.47secs, set in the heat, by coming home in 3mins 29.24secs — 2.71secs adrift of the winners, to claim silver. Australia took bronze with a time of 3.29.93.
It was an emotional medal for former King Edward VI School pupil Walker-Hebborn, who revealed his father Andy was recently diagnosed with cancer, meaning his parents could not travel to Rio.
“This one is for my dad and it’s pretty special,” Walker-Hebborn said afterwards.
“It’s been a tough few weeks. This was always going to be my best opportunity and these boys swam out of their skin and I left everything in the pool.”
Walker-Hebborn, who won European and Commonwealth gold in the 100m backstroke in 2014, led Great Britain off and swam 53.68secs to hand over to 100m breaststroke gold medallist Peaty in sixth place.
Ryan Murphy completed the first leg in 51.85secs to break an Olympic 100m backstroke world record of 51.97, set by Aaron Piersol in 2009.
But Peaty managed to overturn the deficit to give Great Britain the lead with a stunning 56.59secs to eclipse his own world record of 57.13.
Phelps continued a stunning final with a swansong befitting of his record-breaking career in the butterfly leg, building up a strong lead after swimming 50.33.
Nathan Adrian (46.74) led the United States home in the freestyle leg with Duncan Scott swam strongly to claim a silver medal and new British record in 47.62.