Alice Dearing Retires After Historic Career That Encompassed Olympics, World And European Championships

Alice Dearing - Photo Courtesy: Chloe Knott/ for SwimEngland

Alice Dearing Retires After Historic Career That Encompassed Olympics, World And European Championships

Alice Dearing has announced her retirement less than three years after she became the first black female swimmer to represent Great Britain at the Olympics when she contested the open water in Tokyo.

Dearing hangs up her wetsuit on the eve of her 27th birthday following a career that has encompassed an Olympic Games and world and European Championships.

She was fourth in the 7.5km event at the 2014 World Junior Open Water championships, and took European Junior bronze in 2015.

Dearing made her senior international debut in the 5k at the 2015 worlds in Kazan, Russia, and in 2016 became world junior open water champion over 10k.

She appeared at World Championships in Budapest and Gwangju – fifth in the mixed 5k relay at the former in 2017 her best result so far – as well as finishing 12th at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Dearing booked her place for Tokyo – and wrote an entry into the history books – at the open water qualifier in Setubal, Portugal, in May 2021.

She finished 19th in the Japanese capital amid the hot water of the Odaiba Marine Park.

Eva Okaro will become the second black female swimmer to compete for Team GB at the Olympics at Paris 2024 this summer after negotiating the sprint freestyle events at the recent British trials in London.

Dearing is also a co-founder of the Black Swimming Association whose aim is to highlight swimming as an essential life skill and to encourage participation as well as prevent drowning in black and minority ethnic communities.

Now though Dearing is set to move on to the next chapter of her life, posting to social media:

“After 18 years in competitive swimming I’m moving on to other ventures ✨

“Thank you to the sport, which has given me everything which I hold dear.

“The next adventure awaits.


She added:

“From the little girl who was too scared to jump in the pool to the woman who stood on the shores of lakes and oceans around the world, swimming for her country. I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of the swimmer I became, but even prouder of the woman I am.

“Ten years swimming for Britain at a senior international level. World and European junior champion. The first Black woman to swim for Team GB at an Olympic Games. Charity-co founder. Changemaker.

“Swimming has provided platforms and opportunities for me I never dreamed possible, and as I move into the next phase of my career, I’m announcing my retirement from the sport. Now it’s about continuing to give opportunities to more and more people to help them discover their potential, whatever that may be.

“Thank you to all the people who have raised me up over this journey. Too many of you to name. It really has taken a village. It’s been fun. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. But my journey doesn’t stop here.”

Aquatics GB Performance Director Chris Spice was Team Leader at multiple major meets that involved Alice on marathon swimming teams.

He said:

“I know that everyone at Aquatics GB wishes Alice all the best for the future and everything she is looking to achieve away from the water.

“As well as being a member of senior British teams for close to a decade – and always an absolute pleasure to have on those teams – Alice will forever go down as a history maker for becoming the first black female athlete to represent Great Britain in swimming at an Olympic Games, and we know she will continue to make an impact beyond our sport as well as within it now she has finished competing.”

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