Luke Greenbank isn’t superstitious, but he has no plans to cut his long hair while he is in the form of his life. 

The 23-year-old from Cockermouth has enjoyed a Samson-like rise since narrowly missing out on selection for Rio five years ago. 

A first World Championship medal in 2019 ensured he would be in Japan and happened to coincide with the longer hair. 

And while he insists that is the not reason for his success, he does not want to take any chances. 

He said: “I started growing it two years ago – it just happened to coincide with me swimming better. It’s a bit of a joke that it’s superstitious. I’m sure it’s not, I don’t believe in that. But I’ll keep it for a while, though, just in case…” 

It certainly seems to be working for Greenbank, who impressed on his way to qualifying second fastest for the final of the 200m backstroke. 

While Russian Olympic Committee’s Evgeny Rylov is favourite to double up after his victory in the 100, Greenbank looks like his closest challenger. 

And with the possibility of joining Britain’s medal rush in the pool, Greenbank could not hide his excitement. 

He added: “I’m really happy. Second place into an Olympic final is a dream come true. Hopefully I can improve on that tomorrow.  

“There’s been some inspiring performances so far and I really want to get in on that action and win a medal.  

“Preparation has been absolutely perfect really. There was a great block of training leading up to this and then a great holding camp in Yokohama. I’m really confident, really looking forward to racing again and hopefully drop a little bit more time.” 

With three golds in the pool already, Britain’s swimmers are enjoying their best Games for more than a century. 

Adam Peaty has led the way, winning his second successive 100m breaststroke title, and he will join Greenbank in the medley relay later in the week. 

And Greenbank revealed that Peaty’s gold on Monday had been the spark the team needed to ignite. 

He added: “Once we get that first medal, it really boosted morale in the camp. Everyone is really motivated and we all get behind each other and we really want to see each other do well. So that has had a huge impact on the more recent performances.” 

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £36 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #MakeAmazingHappen