Tom Dean becomes first British male swimmer in 113 years to win two golds

·4 min read

Tom Dean has become the first British male swimmer in 113 years to win two golds at a single Olympic Games after he and his teammates triumphed in the 4x200m freestyle relay in Tokyo.

The 21-year-old, along with James Guy, 25, Matthew Richards, 18, and Duncan Scott, 24, clocked a time of six minutes and 58.58 seconds – 0.03 seconds off a world record time.

They saw off the Russian Olympic Committee and Australia to secure Team GB’s third swimming gold of Tokyo 2020.

It came after Dean, who suffered a second bout of coronavirus six months ago, won the men’s 200m freestyle 24 hours earlier, beating teammate Scott by 0.04 seconds.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Day Five
Team GB’s Duncan Scott, Tom Dean, Matthew Richards and James Guy celebrate gold in the men’s 4×200m freestyle relay at Tokyo Aquatics Centre (Adam Davy/PA)

Dean’s gold medal and Scott’s silver meant it was the first time since 1908 that two British male swimmers had stood on the podium.

Dean previously spoke of his fears about whether or not he would be able to compete in Japan after testing positive for Covid-19, saying an Olympic gold medal seemed like “a million miles off”.

He experienced only mild symptoms when he first fell ill last September but suffered a more serious infection in January.

After the quartet won the men’s 4×200m freestyle relay, he said: “It feels pretty special. Double Olympic champion sounds pretty good. The last 24 hours have been unreal, a complete whirlwind.”

Guy is no stranger to the Olympics, having previously won two relay silvers at Rio 2016 and finished fourth in the individual 200m freestyle event.

He told the BBC: “As a kid, winning an Olympic gold medal was my absolute dream and to do it finally after 25 years is pretty emotional.”

His brother, Andy Cyril Guy, tweeted: “Can’t put into words James how proud we are of you, Olympic gold medallist, congratulations Duncan Deano, Matt & Callum … what a team !!!”

Scott is also a returning Olympian, having previously won two silvers at Rio 2016 and claimed golds at world, European and Commonwealth level.

Scott said of the latest win: “It’s really special with these boys. Matt in third was so composed and the boys up front executed their race plans really well. So close to a world record in the end – if anything I’m a bit gutted!”

Richards, for whom Tokyo is his first Olympics, described swimming with his teammates as “a privilege”.

“The confidence that gives someone, and the experience – money can’t buy it,” he said.

His parents, Simon and Amanda Richards, watched their son scoop the gold medal from their home in Droitwich.

His father told Good Morning Britain: “It’s a bit weird, but, I’m not gonna lie, as I’ve said, I’ve had worse Wednesdays. The trauma and the nerves (when watching them) are quite unreal… It feels like a very, very long time since he was eight years old and started swimming.”

During lockdown, Richards, who usually trains in Bath, came up with a creative solution for his training in April when swimming pools were still closed.

He posted a video of him swimming in a pool set up in the garden of his home.

Former England and Great Britain Olympic swimmer Marc Spackman, who coached Richards from the age of 13, said the teenager always had high hopes for Olympic glory.

He told the BBC: “He came into my programme with a dream and he wanted to be an Olympic champion. He ate in that way, he trained in that way. He’s got that result now, which is unbelievable.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also sent his congratulations, tweeting: “Another brilliant performance from the @TeamGB swimming team. Well done!”

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