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Alice Tai, Mel Marshall and Alice Dearing named amongst top 50 Women of the Year

Para-swimmer Alice Tai, coach Mel Marshall and swimmer Alice Dearing have all been named in the top 50 of The Telegraph’s Women of the Year 2019 list.

Dearing finished 17th in the Women’s 10km open water race at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, earning her a place on Britain’s Podium Potential squad heading into the Olympic year.

The 22-year-old – who was 50th on The Telegraph’s list – went on to win bronze in the Women’s 800m Freestyle at the Swim England National Winter Championships in December.

Dearing has also been recognised for campaigning to encourage a rise in the number of BAME swimmers within the UK.

She wrote: “I’d love if we didn’t need to have to have conversations about diversity and I could just float along happily, without addressing the lack of black people in swimming – both competitive and leisure.

“But coming up to my fifth year swimming for Britain on senior teams, I might as well use my voice and try to encourage more people of colour to take to the pool.”

Accolades keep coming for Marshall

Mel Marshall – who was named at No. 21 – has received widespread praise in 2019 for her work as part of the British Swimming and National Centre Loughborough teams.

She helped Adam Peaty break his own world record in the 100m Breaststroke and win three gold medals at the World Championships, with another of her swimmers – Luke Greenbank – winning his first major individual global medal.

Marshall’s influence has certainly been acknowledged, as she was named High Performance Coach of the Year, before receiving BT Sport’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Peaty said: “She has come an incredibly long way, and so have I. She developed me into the man I am today.

“I don’t think she would agree, but she’s had a massive impact on my life and my performance. It’s great to share the successes and a few failures along the way.”

Tai caps stunning year

Alice Tai was just outside the top 10, finishing 11th in The Telegraph’s countdown following the most successful year of her career.

Tai broke multiple world records throughout the year and won seven gold medals at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.

The Ealing swimmer was named British Swimming’s Athlete of the Year and The Sunday Times’ Disability Sportswoman of the Year.

Reflecting on her standout year, Tai said: “I think the Paralympic movement has just grown and grown and grown since 2012 and just expanding that into the future is the probably goal of every single Paralympic athlete.

“I’m really keen to just help progress Paralympic sport more and working with other children and seeing how much I have inspired them is just crazy.

“I remember being in that position when I was younger, looking up to athletes, so it’s just really trying to get more people into the sport.”