07:20AM, Tuesday 27 July 2021
Maidenhead’s Tom Dean produced the swim of his life to take gold in the 200m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).
In a closely fought race that went down to the wire, Dean touched home just ahead of compatriot Duncan Scott as Team GB secured a British one-two in the event.
Dean finished in 1.44.22 seconds, a new British record at his first ever Games, while Scott, just 0.04seconds behind his teammate took silver with Fernando Scheffer of Brazil claiming the bronze medal.
At his debut Games the 21-year-old was always in contention for a medal, having comfortably qualified through his heat and semi-final, however, few expected him to take the gold medal.
Scott was the favourite going into the final, having posted the quickest of the semi-final times, however, Dean was able to back up his fast start with a strong finish.
Thousands of miles away in Maidenhead his family and friends roared him to the finish line and there was a look of shock and disbelief, rather than elation, when Dean saw that he was the new Olympic champion.
Scott and Dean had the two fastest times this year coming into the Olympics, but this is the first time two male British swimmers have finished Olympic podium together since 1908.
Dean’s feat is even more incredible considering Dean contracted COVID in 2020 and saw his training programme disrupted.
Reflecting on his victory, Dean told the BBC: “When I was sitting in my flat in isolation, an Olympic gold seemed a million miles off.
"It is a real honour. I watched the flag go up and the anthems be played, it is the stuff of dreams.
"Thanks so much to everyone back home - my mum, my family, my girlfriend. All the boys back in Maidenhead - thank you for staying up."