01:31PM, Thursday 04 August 2022
Credit: Team England
Tom Dean anchored Team England to a thrilling victory in the men's 4x100m medley relay on Wednesday night and in doing so became the most decorated British athlete at a single Commonwealth Games.
The Maidenhead swimmer managed to hold off Australia's Kyle Chalmers by just 0.08 of a second to claim his first gold medal of the Games after six hard-earned silvers.
On the final evening of racing at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre in Birmingham, Dean was finally able to take his place on the top step of the podium alongside teammates Brodie Williams, James Wilby and James Guy.
The captivating race capped off another excellent week for the University of Bath student, one that's seen him tussle for medals with Scotland's Duncan Scott and showcase his impressive adaptability, speed and stamina.
This gold - his seventh medal of the Games - came not long after he’d been edged into second by Scott in the men's 200m individual medley.
The 4x100m medley relay proved to be one of the showstopping events of the Games. Williams laid down a brilliant backstroke opening leg to give England a narrow lead, and Wilby then pulled further clear of the pack on the breaststroke leg. Guy solidified the lead with a characteristically solid butterfly leg and Dean dived into the water with a slender lead from Chalmers with Scott further back in third place for Scotland.
It looked like the 100m freestyle champion, Chalmers, might just reel in the home favourite, but Dean held firm in the dramatic final throws to bring England home in 3:31.80. Scotland held off Wales on the final leg to take bronze.
“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,” said Dean.
Prior to the medley relays, Scott won his second gold medal of the competition in the men’s 200m individual medley. Once again Dean was his closest challenger, and the pair continue to push each other to new heights. The field were evenly split after the butterfly leg, with Dean touching in third, however, Scott took control in the backstroke, gaining a second lead on the field at the halfway point.
Dean fought back on the breaststroke leg, but Scott had enough of an advantage to hold him off on the final freestyle leg. Scott finished in 1:56.88 with Dean not far behind in 1:57.01.
Scott said: “I’m absolutely exhausted. I was really hurting in that and I think the time probably reflects that. As I said earlier in the week, these finals at international level, time goes out the window a little bit. The times are what get you in meet and puts you in the position to medal, but once you’re in there it kind of goes out the window.
“I was breathing the other way – we both breathe to our right and I knew that coming in but I knew I’m a lot better on the other strokes but he comes home strong and he’s Olympic champion in the 200 free, faster than me in the 100 free, and a great racer as well, so I knew he’d be coming home fast.”
No English person has ever won more medals at a single Commonwealth Games than Tom Dean.— Team England (@TeamEngland) August 4, 2022
We caught up with him this morning to hear about his experience
Listen to those 7 medals jangle #BringItHome | #Birmingham2022 pic.twitter.com/AXIcdQEZg7