It’s been a long time coming. 109 years in the making. Kathleen Dawson insisted we should wait no more. The 23-year-old became the first Scottish woman to claim an Olympic swimming gold on Friday in Tokyo since Belle Moore shared triumph in Stockholm a century ago.

A relay then, ditto now, in the mixed 4x100 medley. Quite the moment on Friday as the Fifer recomposed herself from slipping on the wall at the very start to deliver a backstroke leg of immense importance, handing on to Adam Peaty for the breaststroke before a brilliant butterfly from James Guy and a ferocious freestyle from Anna Hopkin sent the Union flag on an ascent above the pool to tout victory for the fourth time at these Games, with a world record of 3 minutes 37.58 seconds as lustre.

Up to now in Tokyo, it had been strictly a boy’s club. Now the Golden Girls muscled in on the act, with Peaty and Guy willing accomplices. “It's amazing just to see us girls come through, especially here in what was such a male-dominated sport,” said Dawson. “So I'm really proud of us. And hopefully, that's an inspiration for the next generation of female swimmers coming through.”

Tracking a mixed medley is the racing equivalent of apples and oranges. Men and women in whatever order they choose, Dawson completing her duty in sixth place but with four men ahead. Peaty, majestic as a human propeller, advancing the British to fourth. Guy, who had valiantly sacrificed a possible medal in the 100m butterfly, expending all his preserved energy to capture the lead with his quickest-ever split of 50 seconds precisely.

And then Hopkin, another who had traded singular options for the good of the collective, not just defending the advantage but extending it too, a body length clear of China by the end with Australia in bronze.

“I think I would have been fighting for medals, 100 per cent, because I’m in great shape here,” Guy acknowledged. “It was a hard call to make. I had a chat with my coach and he said ‘listen, you could do something really important and cool here’. He asked: ‘can you do your best time after swimming the 100m butterfly? That’s the risk you’re taking.’ It’s also about taking down the Americans tomorrow, because that’s the main race at the end of the week. And it is what it is. It’s done now.”

Peaty lifted Dawson into the air and spun her around. A joyous full circle from when the Stirling University swimmer was left at a low ebb three years ago when another moment of innocent poolside frivolity left her with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and a lengthy rehab stint ahead.

Soon, Hopkin was draping a medal around her neck. Adjoining Peaty and Guy, each with two golds apiece here and with another likely to come early on Sunday in the men’s 4x100 medley.

“It's definitely been amazing and inspiring and being a part of their team and watching them race because they're both on such great form,” Dawson acknowledged. Afterwards, the pair of amiable alpha males were front and centre. Girl power instrumental, the Scot reminded, with Freya Anderson also golden as Hopkin’s stunt double for the heats. “It wouldn't have been complete without the three of us. So I'm really proud of how we swam as well.”

A seventh medal in the water inside a week, equalling a British best at a single Olympics from 1908. One, perhaps two more to add before the pool ropes are packed up on Sunday.

“It’s been a brilliant story,” Peaty, the new dad, declared. “That’s my 14th world record. More to go on the wall at home for George to look up to. I never, ever, thought I would have four Olympic medals. This is my third gold after the one in 2016. But it’s just incredible. It’s more inspiring to be part of this team than anything could be. A very emotional moment.”

Elsewhere, Caeleb Dressel claimed his fifth Olympic gold, winning the men’s 100m butterfly in 49.45 secs, knocking 0.05 secs off his own world record with Hungary’s Kristof Milak setting a European best 49.68 secs in second.

Katie Ledecky secured the Olympic title in the women’s 800m freestyle for a third consecutive Games, the seventh gold of her career leaving the American just one short of compatriot Jemmy Thompson’s all-time female mark. Surpassing that must wait until Paris. She is only 24, though, and still fuelled. "This was not my last swim,” she said. “I'm at least going to '24. Maybe '28.”