Alice Dearing Becomes The First Black Woman To Swim For Great Britain At The Olympics

Alice Dearing: Photo Courtesy: Chloe Knott/ for SwimEngland

Alice Dearing will be the first black woman to swim for Great Britain at the Olympics after she finished fourth in the open water qualifier in Setubal, Portugal.

The Briton booked her flight to Tokyo after she touched the board after 2:02.01.1 behind only Hungary’s Anna Olasz, Spain’s Paola Ruiz Bravo and Canada’s Kate Farley Sanderson to claim one of the 15 available slots.

The former world junior champion is only the second black woman to have swum for Britain after Achieng Ajulu-Bushell and now the first to compete at an Olympics.

Dearing told British Swimming:

“I’m really excited, relieved, grateful, it’s a huge mix of emotions.

“I can’t quite believe it, I’ve been daydreaming about this day for the past year and a half, ever since the first lockdown came in.

“So to have the day arrive, have everything fall into place, thankfully, have such a great team around supporting me, to get in, swim to my potential and qualify the Olympic Games place is just a bit surreal right now, I can’t quite process it. It’ll probably take me quite a while to sleep tonight!

“I’m just so grateful to everybody who has helped me along the way, everyone who has believed in me, encouraged me.

“When I was younger, I never really thought about being an Olympian – I thought ‘oh wow, it would be so cool’, but I knew how much hard work went into it and honestly didn’t think I was cut out for it. So I’m really proud to have proved myself wrong, in a way, and to achieve beyond my wildest dreams.

“I was happy to make nationals, I was happy to make regionals, I was happy to make counties – and to be put up for selection for the Olympics, it’s an incredible achievement and I’m so relieved and grateful and happy for everything I’ve invested.”

The 24-year-old, who is coached by Andi Manley at Loughborough, posted a message to social media acknowledging those who have helped bring her to this point.

Dearing’s goal was to finish in the top nine and be the first Briton home ahead of Danielle Huskisson.

A 47-strong field lined up for five laps along the Portuguese coastline, and the pace was on from the very beginning.

Both Dearing and Huskisson stayed well positioned throughout the early stages as the leading bunch slowly dwindled in number, lap by lap.

By the 8-km mark, University of Stirling swimmer Huskisson sat in seventh but Dearing reacted to a further injection of pace shortly after the bell to break away with a definitive pack of five.

That move ultimately broke the elastic with the rest of the field, and on the surge homebound, Dearing was able to stay on the feet of the podium trio of Olasz, Ruiz Bravo and Farley Sanderson all the way to the finishing board.

Huskisson finished 13th.

Dearing’s friend and former schoolmate at the Royal School Wolverhampton – which also produced Tokyo-bound freestyle specialist Matt RichardsTully Kearney posted to social media.

Kearney is a seven-time World para-swimming champion and also set for Tokyo.



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