Tom Dean finally gets gold Commonwealth gold in relay

·3-min read
Tom Dean finally gets gold Commonwealth gold in relay

Tom Dean lost his individual battle with Duncan Scott but won the relay war against Australia to round off a breathtaking Commonwealth meet.

Scott and Dean's 200m individual medley duel on the final night of racing was just as box office as the Olympic re-run of the 200m freestyle.

The race went in Scott's favour at the touch by a margin of 0.13s.

Dean said ruefully and graciously: “I can’t seem to get away from that man out there!

“It’s incredible to have two Brits going head-to-head repeatedly. All through the season we’re going up against each other and I knew he’d want to come to Birmingham and stamp his name.

“For the Scots this is such a big thing, he’s Scotland’s most decorated swimmer which is such an incredible achievement.”

Both Brits conceded ground to Canada’s Finlay Knox on the backstroke leg, but Scott flew from fourth to first at the halfway mark.

The Glasgow star held his advantage on breaststroke and then held on despite Dean out splitting him by more than half a second coming home.

"I knew he was there, I was like, ‘oh, he’s catching,’” admitted Scott. “Obviously, I was breathing the other way, we both breathe to our right.

“I know I’m a lot better on other strokes, but he comes home strong, he’s faster than me on the freestyle. But Tom, great racer, great competitor. I knew he’d be coming home fast.”

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.

After his individual Dean had to field questions about the fulfilment and frustrations of winning six silver medals, that saw him equal other swimmers on the joint-most medals won for England at a single Games.

An hour later Dean dived back in and anchored England to a shock win over Australia in the men's 4x100m individual medley.

With a slender advantage Dean duelled with 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers and won it on the fingernails.

That took him past the likes of Adam Peaty's coach Mel Marshall and Siobhan-Marie O'Connor, out on his own as the most successful English athlete at a single Commonwealth Games.

He said: "I showed how much it meant to me; it was pure emotion coming up.

"Six silvers, to finally get the gold at the end means the world. It’s the first time we’ve had this medley combination and all the boys executed the perfect race plan.”

“Even off the back of Olympic gold, you must question your motivations in the sport. Olympic individual gold is the pinnacle of swimming so achieving that was amazing but as soon as I stepped off the podium it was ‘where do I go from here?’.

"Then it becomes about increasing what’s on that CV, backing it up with Commonwealth medals, world medals. If I can walk away from 2022 as the most decorated Englishman ever, that would be an incredible honour.

“Every race I’ve done since the Olympics, it’s felt like I’ve got a target on my back. I wouldn’t have it any other way as it means I’ve done something great in the sport. If I can be the one chasing, rather than doing the chasing, it can only be for a good reason.”

Earlier Ben Proud matched his world title with a Commonwealth victory in the splash-and-dash freestyle.

The Plymouth racer, who also won the 50m butterfly, took victory in 21.36 seconds and by a margin of 0.32s, a country mile in the one-length event with team-mate Lewis Burras taking silver.

He said: “It’s another legacy swim for me and to do it with another Englishman on the podium with me is very nice. I managed to hold off the young guns for one more year, so I’m super happy.”

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