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Alice Dearing vows to come back stronger after 'bittersweet' Olympic debut

Alice Dearing says she is ‘disappointed’ with her result in the Women’s 10k marathon swimming final at the Tokyo Olympics, but has vowed to come back stronger.

After a gruelling race in tough conditions at Tokyo’s Odaiba Marine Park, Dearing finished in 19th place overall in a time of 2:05:03.2.

The Team GB swimmer finished a total of 5:32.4 behind the eventual gold medallist, Ana Marcela Cunha (1:59:30.8) of Brazil.

The silver medal went to Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands (1:59:31.7) and Australia’s Kareena Lee (1:59:32.5) took bronze.

Dearing explained that making her Olympic debut was ‘bittersweet’ but says she has ‘a lot more to give within the sport’.

Reflecting on the race, she said: “I’m tired, I’m pretty broken, it was really hard – a really tough race.

“I’m better than that and I know that so just going to check over what went wrong and look forward to the next one next year.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s obviously incredible to race at the Olympics but I am really disappointed with the result.

“I know I can do better so, I want to go to Paris and have a better race and perform better than this.

“It’s only three years until Paris – I’ve got a lot more to give and learn. This is my first Olympics, I’m definitely not done. I’ll go home, take my time get over it and then come back stronger next year and the year after.”

Each race is a learning curve

Discussing the conditions and speed of the race, the 24-year-old added: “It was just the pace, I wasn’t expecting it. I was constantly playing catch up.

“I thought I’d done enough on the third lap and really put in a big shift and tried to get up there and thought I’d done as much as I could. But then you just get caught behind the wrong people at the wrong time.

“And swimming at the same pace as the lead pack but not actually with them, it just takes a lot out of you mentally and physically not being in it with them.

“I’ve got a lot to learn. Each race is a learning curve and I feel like there’s a lot of experience to be gained from this. I know I’ve got a lot more to give within the sport.”

Despite her disappointment, Dearing is still a role model and inspiration to many swimmers around the world.

Her appearance at the Tokyo Games saw her make history as Great Britain’s first Black female Olympic swimmer.

“I really hope it makes a difference and people look at this and think it’s doable,” she added.

“And for anyone out there – it’s tough, it’s hard, but if you want to learn to swim 25m or go to swim in the Olympics I want people to know that it’s open and available to everybody.

“Just go and give it your best shot.”