And they went mighty close to returning to the Sports Training Village with five medals, with Andrew Willis only missing out on the podium by eight-hundredths of a second in the men’s 200m breaststroke.
The latest success came in the final race of the Olympic meeting as backstroke specialist Walker-Hebborn teamed up with Olympic 100m breaststroke champion Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott to push a United States team featuring Michael Phelps all the way in a thrilling race.
The GB quartet set a new British record of 3:29.24, while the Americans had to register a new Olympic best of 3:27.95 to hold off their challenge.
Walker-Hebborn, who has been part of the British Swimming programme at the University since it was formed in 2008, said: “I have been off my best and it has been a tough few weeks but this was always going to be my biggest opportunity.”
“The boys swam out of their skin and I left everything in the pool. I am pretty emotional but I definitely thank these boys for helping me get there.”
Team GB won six medals in the pool in total, their best return since the 1908 Games in London, and the swimmers coached by Dave McNulty and Graeme Antwhistle in the London 2012 Legacy Pool certainly played their part in that.
O’Connor, who helped GB’s women to seventh place in the women’s 4x100m medley relay in a new British record time of 3:56.96, said: “It’s one of the most successful weeks Britain has ever had at the Olympics so it’s been a dream week really.
“To see the boys win a silver medal was great and I’m so proud to be part of this team. I’m just going to try to enjoy the rest of the Olympics, we’re here in Rio and it’s an incredible once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Carlin was quick to pay tribute to the set-up at the Sports Training Village, saying: “I’ve got an amazing coach and support staff around me at Bath and I’m finally believing in myself.”
The British Swimming National Centre training group has now secured five Olympic silver medals in total, this week’s quartet adding to the one won by Michael Jamieson in the 200m breaststroke at London 2012.
Picture of Duncan Scott, Adam Peaty, Chris Walker-Hebborn and James Guy by Lukas Schulze/DPA/PA Images