Olympic champion Tom Dean is aiming to ‘win at the Commonwealth Games’ after being selected to represent the England squad for Birmingham 2022.
The Bath National Center athlete became a double Olympic champion at the Tokyo 2020 Games after reaching the podium in the men’s 200m freestyle and the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay.
At just 21, he’s reached the pinnacle of the sport, but he’s only just begun…
“To reach the pinnacle of the sport at 21, a little prematurely, a little earlier than expected and win an individual Olympic gold medal was a dream come true.
“I think a long break after the summer was what I needed to reevaluate, but I had a lot of meetings with my coach and he just reminded me how exciting this starting point is.
“It’s the start of the journey. We’ve reached the top and now it’s about getting all the other titles that I don’t have yet.
“It’s about winning the Commonwealth Games, it’s about being world champion, it’s about retaining those titles and showing the longevity of the sport.
“It was the best start for my senior medal count, but I’m also excited for the next few years.”
The freestyle specialist explained how he wanted to “expand the range of events” in his arsenal and sees the upcoming Commonwealth Games as an opportunity to do so.
He said: “The 200m freestyle is the blue ribbon event, and the 4x200m relay flows from that, but I’d like to expand the range of events I’m able to do.
“I am looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and I want to be able to try the 100 freestyle, the 4×100 relays and the 200 IM if I want to try again.
“This is the most exciting part of this year. I wouldn’t roll the dice on anything I wasn’t sure about before the Olympics, but the year after the Olympics I’m really excited to be able to try different things.
“Running slightly different events at competitions and seeing if I can prepare for a wide range of events ahead of the Olympics with the confidence of some results behind me. That’s what’s really exciting about this preparation.
One element of the event that Dean is looking forward to is racing against his team GB teammates who will now be competing for their respective home countries.
Speaking of fellow Olympic champion Duncan Scott, he said: “We’re always going to be good friends but you have to turn it off for five minutes when we’re racing whether we’re both competing for Team GB or for different countries like us will be at the Commonwealth Games.
“We are both fierce competitors, he is an absolute class act in and out of the water and the standard he brings to our events – he uplifts everyone and makes it exciting for us when we come together in a relay team for Example.
“It’s going to be an exciting competition, I’m looking forward to it and it’s going to be interesting to compete internationally for different teams, but we’re still going to play against each other.”
“A level above anything you can imagine”
Dean commented on how he thrives in the atmosphere a cheering crowd brings to competitions, adding that racing in front of a home crowd is “a level above anything you can imagine”.
He said: “I had the chance to race in front of a home crowd in 2018 in Glasgow at the European Championships, my first senior team.
“I think racing in front of a home crowd is just a level above anything you can imagine. We’ve been crowd-starved for two years now, so coming back to not only racing in front of a crowd, but also racing in front of a home crowd is so exciting.
“I was able to get the best possible result I could ask for in Tokyo but my family wasn’t there, my friends weren’t there so to come back, to have my family, to have my friends there in England, to race against the Scots, the Australians, the Canadians, the South Africans.
“I can not wait to go there.”