Olympic Champion Tom Dean has sights set on winning at the Commonwealth Games

Olympic champion Tom Dean has his sights set on ‘winning at the Commonwealth Games’ after being selected to represent Team England for Birmingham 2022.

The Bath National Centre athlete became double Olympic champion at the Tokyo 2020 Games after topping the podium in both the Men’s 200m Freestyle and as part of the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay.

At just 21-years-old, he has reached the pinnacle of the sport, but he’s only getting started…

“Reaching the pinnacle of the sport at 21-years-old, slightly prematurely, slightly earlier than I was expecting and winning an individual Olympic gold was a dream come true.

“I think a long break after the summer was what I need to re-evaluate but I’ve had a lot of meetings with my coach and he has just reminded me of how exciting this starting point is.

“This is the start of the journey. We’ve shot right to the top and now it’s about getting all the other titles that I haven’t got yet.

“It’s about winning at the Commonwealth Games, it’s about being world champion, it’s about retaining these titles and showing the longevity in the sport.

“It was the best start to my senior medal tally but I’m excited for the next few years as well.”

The freestyle specialist explained how he wants to ‘expand the breadth of events’ in his arsenal and looks at the upcoming Commonwealth Games as an opportunity to do that.

He said: “The 200m freestyle is the blue ribbon event, and the 4x200m relay off the back of it, but I’d like to expand the breadth of events that I’m able to do.

“I’m looking ahead to the Commonwealth Games and I want to be able to sample the 100 free, the 4×100 relays and the 200 IM if I want to give that another go.

“That’s the really exciting part of this year. I wouldn’t roll the dice on anything I wasn’t certain of in the lead up to the Olympics but the year after the Olympics, I’m really excited to be able to try a few different things.

“Racing some slightly different events at meets and see if I can set myself up for a wide range of events going into the Olympics with the confidence of some results behind me. That’s the really exciting thing about this preparation.”

‘Fierce competitors’

One element of the event Dean is looking forward to is racing against his Team GB teammates who will now be competing for their respective home nations.

Speaking on fellow Olympic champion Duncan Scott, he said: “We’re always going to be good mates but you have to switch it off for five minutes when we race, whether we’re both competing for Team GB or for different countries like we will be at the Commonwealth Games.

“We’re both fierce competitors, he’s an absolute class act in and out of the water and the standard that he brings to our events – he raises everyone else up and makes it exciting for us when we do come together on a relay team for example.

“It’s going to be an exciting competition, I’m very much looking forward to it and it is going to be interesting competing at an international competition for different teams but we’ll still be very much going head to head.”

‘A level above anything you could imagine’

Dean commented on how he thrives off the atmosphere a cheering crowd brings at competitions, adding that racing in front of a home crowd is a ‘level above anything you could imagine’.

He said: “I was fortunate enough 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 could imagine. We’ve been starved of crowds for coming on two years now so getting back to not only racing in front of a crowd but racing in front of a home crowd is so exciting.

“I was able to achieve the best possible result I could ask for in Tokyo but my family weren’t there, my friends weren’t there so to get back, have my family, have my friends there in England, racing against the Scots, the Aussies, the Canadians, the South Africans.

“I can’t wait to get out there.”