Tokyo 2020: Trailblazing open-water swimmer Alice Dearing targets top-10 Olympic finish
July 16, 2021
Alice Dearing says she is “blissful to show herself incorrect “after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 4 years after virtually strolling away from swimming; Dearing will turn into the primary Black feminine swimmer to function for Nice Britain at an Olympic Video games when she competes in Tokyo this summer season
Final Up to date: 16/07/21 6:31am
Alice Dearing is preparing for an Olympic debut with a distinction as she prepares to turn into the primary Black British feminine swimmer to seem at an Olympic Video games.
Alice Dearing has her sights set on a top-10 end on the Tokyo Video games as she prepares to turn into Britain’s first Black feminine Olympic swimmer.
Dearing will journey to Japan subsequent week after securing her berth within the open-water occasion on the Video games with a fourth-place end in a 10km marathon race in Setubal final month.
It has been a journey of highs and lows for Dearing, who virtually walked away from the game, only a 12 months after turning into world junior 10km open-water champion.
“It is all about taking your low moments and studying from them. I imply, I’ve undoubtedly had my justifiable share,” she tells Sky Sports activities Information.
“Actually, in direction of the beginning of 2017-18 season. I used to be seeking to stop swimming. I wasn’t having fun with it, I wasn’t having a great time in any respect. And actually, I do not know why I stored going.
“I simply bought again into coaching, began coaching effectively [I suppose] and was actually having fun with like the brand new squad that I moved into. So slightly below 4 years later, to be on this place the place I actually did not assume it was potential or attainable [is amazing].
“I am blissful to show myself incorrect. This has been form of 16 years of my entire swimming profession. So to have acquired this reward, I assume, for that onerous work is superb. I simply can’t await my alternative to go and race.”
Group GB’s final girls’s 10km open-water medal success was in 2008 when Kerri-Anne Payne received silver and Cassandra Patten claimed bronze on the Beijing Olympics.
Dearing says the competitors in Tokyo is up for grabs and is determined to show she will compete and the best degree.
“I feel the minimal I count on from myself is a top-10 end, like absolutely the minimal. I would be fairly dissatisfied with something much less,” she says.
“However actually, open water is so aggressive. It is so unpredictable as effectively, that’s the one factor about it. There are such a lot of nice swimmers getting in, however the best way the situations work, particularly with the warmth that now we have to take care of, I simply assume it is fairly unpredictable.
“It is fairly an open area and it is form of anybody’s sport. So, I am simply seeking to get in there and blend it with these different girls and show that I am the most effective on the earth.”
Male athletes Kevin Burns (Montreal 1976) and Paul Marshall (Moscow 1980) are the one Black British swimmers to have represented Group GB at Olympic degree, with Birmingham-born Dearing in line to turn into the primary Black girl to take action.
“It is simply it is a actually cool factor to have occur to have occurred to me. I am not going to lie,” she explains.
“To assist make historical past, assist be part of that’s simply unbelievable. Then on the similar time, it is form of it is a disgrace it is taken so lengthy for us to get up to now, however I am blissful to assist break that barrier.
“I am blissful that there is a lot publicity about it. So many individuals are choosing up on this and realising that swimming is open to everyone – it isn’t a sport only for sure races, it’s genuinely open to everyone. And I would like individuals to know that.
“I would like individuals to take a look at me and say ‘oh, she will swim, I can swim’. That is the primary factor I would like individuals to remove from this.”
Dearing mentioned she additionally hopes Black swimmers aren’t delay from competing within the sport following the Worldwide Swimming Federation’s (FINA) current resolution to ban Soul Cap specialist headwear, designed to guard pure Black hair whereas swimming.
FINA mentioned the caps don’t match “the pure type of the top”, however worldwide swimming’s governing physique mentioned it’s reviewing using merchandise for pure Black hair.
Dearing, who partnered with Soul Cap final 12 months, mentioned: “The problem with this story is I do not need little Black ladies and little Black boys to take a look at elite swimming and assume it’s not open to them as a result of that’s fully the incorrect concept. It’s open to them
“However I do not need individuals to take a look at elite degree swimming and assume: ‘It isn’t open for me, I can not put on my hair the best way I need to and I will go and discover one other sport’, as a result of that is not what we wish.
“Change is going on a minimum of, Soul Cap has been made and even one thing so simple as that wasn’t round once I began out swimming.
Alice Dearing desires swimming to be ‘open and obtainable to everybody’ following uproar over the choice to ban merchandise for pure Black hair from being worn on the Olympics
“My mum used to need to calm down my hair after which braid it to ensure it could match right into a cap and make our lives simpler and it is solely once I’ve bought older that I may discover methods to handle it in its pure kind.
“It is good to see so many individuals captivated with this and eager to be sure that swimming is open and obtainable to everybody as a result of that’s the objective.
“The problem of Black individuals in swimming is a heavy matter so I am blissful to be the individual to talk about it as a result of I need to make individuals conscious that these stereotypes aren’t acceptable and Black individuals ought to really feel snug at swimming swimming pools.
“They should not really feel subjugated or discriminated in opposition to in any method, so if I can assist in any strategy to make that higher and depart the game someday the place I can look again on it and see the distinction I’ve made then that is what I need to do.”