Tokyo Was ‘The Start Of The Journey’ For Tom Dean As He Prepares To Line Up With Peaty & Co At British Championships

16th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials
Tom Dean: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr

Tom Dean reached the pinnacle of his sport in July 2021 when he won Olympic gold in the 200m freestyle in Tokyo.

The 21-year-old headed a British one-two as he finished 0.04secs ahead of Duncan Scott in a British record of 1:44.22.

The Briton then went on to add a second gold as part of the 4x200m relay squad.

Dean lines up this week at the British Championships which run from 5-11 April in Sheffield and which double as trials for the June World Championships in Budapest.

He has already been preselected for the 200 free although there promises to be a battle royale for the second spot among Scott, Matt Richards, James Guy and Calum Jarvis.

Adam Peaty has entered all three breaststroke events and he will be joined by fellow individual Olympic medallists Luke Greenbank and Scott as well as Anna Hopkin, Guy, Jarvis, Richards, Kathleen Dawson, Freya Anderson and James Wilby who all claimed relay medals in the Japanese capital.

Max Litchfield and Molly Renshaw will not compete given they have been preselected, the former currently training with Chad Le Clos in South Africa.

The six-day meet at Ponds Forge also offers swimmers the chance to qualify for their respective home nations teams for the Commonwealth Games in July.

Tokyo Just The Start For Dean

Given Dean, who is coached by Dave McNulty in Bath, has already won the ultimate prize of which all but a tiny select group can dream, how does he top 2021?

He said:

“That is a question I have been tossing and turning in my head since reaching the pinnacle of the sport at 21-years-old slightly prematurely, slightly earlier than I was expecting.

“Winning individual Olympic gold was a dream come true and I think a long break after the summer was what I needed, to revaluate.”

18th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials

Tom Dean: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr

There have been many conversations with McNulty, the man who has also guided Guy, Jazz Carlin, Michael Jamieson, Siobhan O’Connor, Joanne Jackson and Chris Walker-Hebborn to the Olympic podium.

McNulty had warned Dean ahead of Tokyo of the transformative effect winning gold could have on his life.

Post-Olympics and with the golds in his armoury, the pair sat down once more with McNulty helping reset Dean’s focus by reminding him that Tokyo was the starting point.

“This is the start of the journey,” Dean said. “This isn’t small steps, we have shot right to the top.

“And now it’s about getting all the other titles I haven’t got: it’s about winning the Commonwealth Games, it’s about being world champion, about retaining these titles and it’s about showing the longevity in the sport that I can prove.

“Also, the breadth of events that I want to be able to race in: the 200 free being the blue riband event, the 4×2 off the back of it but focusing on the 100 free opens up more relay opportunities, and that is the kind of discussion I have been having with my coach.

“The best start to my senior medal tally – starting with the big one – but excited for the next few years as well.”

Budapest will be Dean’s second World Championships, three years after he was fifth in the 4×200 relay and 11th in the 200IM.

He is entered in the 100 and 200 free as well as the 200IM and will meet Scott in each event.

Peaty stepped away from the pool and on to the dancefloor with ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ following Tokyo where he became the first Briton to retain an Olympic swimming title when he added the 100m breaststroke title to the crown he won in Rio five years earlier.

The 27-year-old is seeking to become the first man to claim four successive world championship doubles having won the 50 and 100m breaststroke at the 2015, 2017 and 2019 editions.

Only Katinka Hosszu has achieved that feat so far with the medley double from 2013 to 2019.

Peaty made his competitive return in Marseille in March where he won the 100br (59.83) and 50 (27.25) and was fourth over 200 in 2:14.48.


Selection Policy For Budapest

The six-day meet will act as the second of a two-stage selection policy to make the team for Budapest, the first being Tokyo.

Athletes who achieved a top-six finish at the Games in an individual final have been pre-selected.

If more than one athlete achieved a top-six finish, the highest-placed swimmer is selected to the team for the event, with the other finisher selected to the team only.

The team will comprise a maximum of 30 swimmers with a maximum of two selections per individual event and one relay team per event.

Selected for events:

Tom Dean (200 free)

Adam Peaty (100br)

Duncan Scott (200IM)

Kathleen Dawson (100 back)

Abbie Wood (200IM)

Dan Jervis (1500 free)

Luke Greenbank (200 back)

Max Litchfield (400IM)

Ben Proud (50 free)

James Wilby (200br)

The policy states that relay medal-winners are also selected although this is restricted to swimmers who appeared in the final and not heat swimmers.

Thus, Hopkin, Richards and Guy are selected to the team but not Anderson or Jarvis.

Athletes must place first or second in the event and their times must equal or better the qualification marks set by British Swimming.

2022-03-30 (2)

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