Headphones in, swagger on, Duncan Scott waltzed onto the pool deck of Tokyo’s Aquatic Centre with a visible spring in his step.

The tiniest minutiae of every precise detail in the blueprint of his long-time coach Steve Tigg has been carried out to the letter for gargantuan moments such as these.

The Olympic 200 metres freestyle final turned into a frenetic dance. A two-step building to an extraordinary crescendo. Eight became a duo in a chase for the wall. But it was his British team-mate Tom Dean who shimmied to gold with the Scot a mere four-hundredths of a second behind. The first 1-2 in the pool for the UK since the 1908 Games in London. 

It was the quickest the 24-year-old from Alloa has ever gone. A Scottish record lowered to 1:44.26. But a British best and supremacy relinquished to Dean. Sixth at half-way, Scott swam the last 50m in 26.46 secs, almost half a second faster than his flat-mate in the Athlete Village. A valiant charge from behind, but ultimately a surge which came a fraction too late.

“I didn’t want to swim anyone else’s race because that’s not the way we do it,” the silver medallist confirmed. “I’ve done 1:44 in several different ways. In the semi-final, I went off quite a bit slower that when I did my best time and I was only 0.1 off. I was coming in really confident.

“I think I could done the second 50 a lot better. Maybe built to the wall a bit better. But there's so many different strategies in that 200m free which makes it quite an exciting spectacle as well. It was a dog fight. It came down to the finish. And Deano swam a great race, so fair play to him.”

Just 21, there have been whispers about Dean’s transcendent potential for years. Bath-based, his European bronze in May – one place behind Scott – was the first significant individual medal but at that point, he remained on the back foot.

Within five months around the turn of the year, he contracted Covid twice. “Obviously, it's a cardiovascular disease, and we do a cardiovascular sport,” he acknowledged. “It was a little bit scary when I wasn’t able to walk on my stairs without coughing and wheezing at the start of 2021.”

Here, he inhaled this golden opportunity, rewarded for his assault from the front as early pacesetter Hwang Sun-woo faded and the Englishman made this title his own. “It's an honour, it’s the stuff of dreams,” he said. “I've been thinking about this since I started swimming at eight years old and today is the day. It’s amazing.”

Scott is a close chum. If internally, the runner-up felt any deflation, it was buried beneath magnanimous praise. “The best possible outcome is 1-2 and we delivered on that,” Alloa’s finest stated. “Coming out, there's plenty of things that I think I could have done better which I’ll be able to look at and go over. But I'm really happy with that.”

With his two prior relay silvers from Rio 2016, could yet end this week with more swimming medals than any Briton in his history. He has a further solo shot to come, in the 200m individual medley which begins today (Wednesday). A tougher gambit, potentially. With that and relays, celebrations must await. “I need to get my individual medley head on and start practicing my breaststroke kick,” he said.

His Stirling colleague Kathleen Dawson rued her inability to recreate her absolute prime after attaining sixth in the women’s 100 metres backstroke final when she had flown to Japan with ambitions of a medal. 

The 23-year-old lowered the European record to 58.08 seconds in May but clocked 58.70 in the biggest race of her career so far. Ranked fifth all-time, the Scot has the misfortune of excelling in an event whose list of talents is immensely deep. Australia’s world record holder Kaylee McKeown took gold in a shootout in an Olympic best of 57.47 ahead of Canada’s Kylie Masse and Regan Smith of the USA.

“It is just a little bit gutting,” confessed Dawson, who swam slower than in the previous two rounds. “Why did I have to start dropping 58s when the field is so stacked now? I can’t help feel proud as well though that I’m a part of this history.

“Four of the top five swimmers of all-time were in that final. Only Kathleen Baker was missing. Even though I didn’t put out a time that matches the fifth-fastest time in history, it’s a stacked event to be in.”

The Fifer may yet land her Olympic medal on Saturday when she is expected to join Adam Peaty in a potent British mixed 4x100 medley relay line-up. “I’m just going to look to get as big a gap between me and the next person so Adam can take over,” she declared.

Elsewhere, Evgeny Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov produced a Russian 1-2 in the men’s 100m backstroke while 17-year-old American Lydia Jacoby was a surprise winner of the women's 100m breaststroke. However British prospect Freya Anderson, whose build-up was smacked by a viral infection, was left in tears with a semi-final exit in the 200m freestyle where she was far shy of her best.