09:16AM, Tuesday 20 July 2021
Maidenhead swimmer Tom Dean believes he and his teammates have a fighting chance of competing for medals at the Tokyo Olympics and remains excited about participating in a ‘unique Olympics’.
Dean has now moved into the Olympic Village after flying out to Japan for a training camp earlier this month.
He will begin his 200m freestyle competition on the opening Sunday of the Games (July 25) and will hope to progress to the semi-finals the following day and the final on Tuesday (4.30am UK time).
He’s also set to compete for medals in the 4x100m freestyle relay final on Monday (5.45am UK time). He is also in line to swim in the 4x200m freestyle relay with the final taking place on Wednesday (5.45am UK time).
Speaking last week, Dean said: “It is really exciting being in Japan at last after the year long delay. We shared lunch with members of the boxing squad, which brings to mind what an awesome experience it is to be part of the GB Olympic team.”
Dean deferred his second year at the University of Bath to concentrate on qualifying for the Olympics, only for the Games to be postponed for 12 months due to the Coronavirus pandemic, however, the university allowed him to defer again, while continuing to support him through the Bill Whiteley Sporting Scholarship and he believes this commitment has enabled him to pursue his Olympic dream. Working with coach David McNulty, he secured Olympic qualification in fine style and goes into the Games this week as the second-fastest man in the world this year at the 200m freestyle.
“I think we’ve got a real fighting chance out in Japan,” said Dean, who won six medals at this summer’s European Championships in Budapest. “I think British Swimming is so strong, we showed that at the Europeans a few weeks ago by coming back with a massive medal haul, and I think it’s going to be pretty special in Tokyo.
“Training has been going really well. We have squeezed everything we can out of the last few weeks in Bath before tapering down and resting for the big competition.
“It’s starting to get to crunch time and it’s exciting. This is my first Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine to be an Olympian and represent Team GB for as long as I can remember. I think it’s going to be even more exciting to be part of a unique Olympics that will be unlike any other, I can’t wait.”
The former Maidenhead Marlins swimmer is one of nine Bath-based swimmers in the Team GB squad for Tokyo and is proud to be representing his adopted home city on the global stage.
He said: “That backing from the University was a massive, massive help and continues to be. I’m one of the sporting scholars here and knowing that support network is there, all the services that the University offers, has given me a great deal of confidence and allowed me to focus purely on becoming the best performer I can be.”
The race to get as many people vaccinated against coronavirus has ramped up in the Royal Borough and Slough amidst an ongoing rise in cases across the country.