Tom Dean’s family erupted back home as the Bath University student romped home in the men’s 200m freestyle, winning his first Olympic medal and another gold for Team GB.
Dean, who was born in London and grew up in Buckingham shire but who studies mechanical engineering at the University of Bath, touched home in 44.22 seconds, an all-time British record. His teammate Duncan Scott finished just 0.04 seconds behind him, brining home the silver medal.
Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer won the bronze medal, finishing 0.4 seconds behind Scott.
READ MORE: Tom Dean and Duncan Scott take gold and silver in Olympic 200m freestyle
It’s the 21-year-old Tom Dean that will be the talk of the town today, though. He endured a torrid time last year, twice contracting coronavirus, which at one point meant he couldn’t even “walk up the stairs without coughing and wheezing”.
He told BBC Sport: “The three-week build-up back to training had to be structured to prevent any long-term damage to my heart and lungs, so it was scary.
“It was upsetting because no-one takes six weeks off in the build-up to an Olympics. It was a real shock to the system.”
As Dean won the gold medal, his family and friends, gathered at his parents’ garden, erupted in celebration – check out the video above.
“We decided, because we couldn’t be there, how nice would it be for Tom to know his family and friends were together watching him,” his mum Jacquie told BBC One. “We invited some members of the [swimming] club, some neighbours and before we knew it there were 70 people in the garden watching on a big screen.
“It was so joyous and full of passion. It was lovely. I spoke to Tom this morning and he said he watched the video over and over again.”
Dean, who trains at the Bath National Centre for Swimming under the guidance of coach Dave McNulty, will no doubt come home to similar reception after the conclusion of this summer’s Games.
In a statement released by the university, he said: “It’s amazing, I couldn’t have asked for more.”
“To have two Brits on the podium and coming one and two shows dominance in this event and how far British Swimming and Team GB have come. I couldn’t have asked for any more, it’s amazing.
“I can’t thank my coach David McNulty enough for what he’s done. He said, ‘we’re writing an amazing story’. With the COVID situation, I had six or seven weeks out of the pool during an Olympic year. He brought me through it and here we are, and I can’t thank him enough for it – we couldn’t have had a better ending to the story. I want to say thank you so much to everyone back home.”
University of Bath Olympic successes
It was a first British one-two for Team GB on the Olympic swimming podium since 1908 and sees Dean join Steph Cook (modern pentathlon), Jason Gardener (athletics), Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold (both skeleton) in the ranks of athletes to be crowned as Olympic Champion while training at the Team Bath Sports Training Village.
He is also the first current Bath student to ever win gold at a Summer Olympic Games and becomes the fifth British Swimming National Centre Bath star coached by McNulty at the Team Bath Sports Training Village to win an Olympic medal, joining Michael Jamieson – who was also a University of Bath student – and Jazz Carlin, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Chris Walker-Hebborn from Rio 2016 in the roll of honour.
Ahead of his debut Games, Dean thanked the University of Bath for supporting him on his Olympic journey by allowing him to defer his Mechanical Engineering studies to concentrate fully on his Tokyo training.
“That backing from the University was a massive, massive help and continues to be,” said the 21-year-old. “I’m one of the sporting scholars here and knowing that support network is there, all the services that the University offers, has given me a great deal of confidence and allowed me to focus purely on becoming the best performer I can be.”
Dean will be hoping for another shot an Olympic medal as part of a GB men’s 4x200m freestyle squad that also features fellow Bath-based swimmers James Guy, Matt Richards and Sports Performance graduate Calum Jarvis.
They begin their campaign in the heats at 12.03pm BST.
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