Great Britain won gold in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay to end a dramatic night at the European Championships in Rome.
Romania’s David Popovici, 17, earlier set a new world record of 46.86 seconds to win the men’s 100m freestyle.
British swimmers also won bronze in two individual events.
Freya Colbert, 18, finished third in the women’s 400m medley, as did Luke Greenbank, 24, in the men’s 200m backstroke.
Lucy Hope, Anna Hopkin, Medi Harris and Freya Anderson put in a superb performance to win a first gold medal for Britain at these championships.
Anderson, who finished third in the individual event, brought the team home in a time of three minutes 36.47 seconds, ahead of Sweden in second and the Netherlands in third.
It capped a great night for Britain in the pool after earlier medals from Colbert and Greenbank.
Teenager Colbert showed a great deal of promise to swim 4:40.06, coming close to pipping Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos for silver. Viktoria Mihalyvari, also from Hungary, won gold.
Greenbank, who won silver at the World Championships earlier this year before being laid low by Covid, bounced back well – finishing in 1:56.15 – after failing to finish on the podium in the event at the Commonwealth Games.
France’s Yohann Brouard won in 1:55.62, with Hungary’s Benedek Kovacs claiming silver.
“It [Covid] got me to near breaking point, so I am happy to finish with a 56-low to get a medal,” said Greenbank.
“Just to bounce off the Commonwealth and get a medal here – I can’t complain.”
‘A fantasy now might be a 45’
The night will also be remembered for a sensational swim by Popovici – who won the 100m and 200m freestyle at the World Championships in Budapest in June.
In Rome, the teenager trimmed 0.05 seconds off the time set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo in the same pool at the 2009 World Championships in the era of buoyant body suits.
He beat Hungary’s Kristof Milak into second place, with Italy’s Alessandro Miressi finishing third.
Britain’s Tom Dean, fresh from winning silver in this event at the Commonwealth Games, finished a disappointing seventh.
Adrian Moorhouse, the former Olympic, world and European champion, who was commentating on the race for the BBC, said: “That is one of the greatest swims we have seen and had the privilege to commentate on. The commentary team is standing up to applaud that swim.
“What a fantastic effort – the last 25 metres were just huge.”
The slight Popovic, who described himself as a “skinny legend”, said he was inspired by Britain’s Adam Peaty to set a new benchmark in his event.
Just as Peaty launched ‘Project 56’ to swim the men’s 100m breaststroke in under 57 seconds, eventually breaching that mark at the 2019 World Championships, the Romanian wants to go under 46 seconds in the 100m freestyle.
“I wanted to go as fast as possible and it looks like I did it,” he told BBC TV.
“A fantasy now might be a 45 [second time]. Adam Peaty is a pioneer in terms of the goals he set. For others it was science fiction, but not for him.”