Alice Dearing: redemption within the water for Workforce GB’s first Black feminine Olympic swimmer

Competing within the ladies’s 10km marathon swim on the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021, the 24-year-old turned the primary Black feminine swimmer to symbolize Workforce GB at an Olympic Video games.
Solely two Black swimmers had represented Britain on the Video games earlier than Dearing: Kevin Burns swam on the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and Paul Marshall received bronze in Moscow 4 years later.”To have gone to the Olympic Video games is unimaginable and I am actually honored to be one of some choose individuals who have ever represented GB at an Olympics.”

Tokyo turmoil

Whatever the consequence, she had written herself into the historical past books the second she dove into the waters of the Odaiba Marine Park, however for Dearing, this was precisely the problem — the consequence was every thing.

Having fallen away from the main pack early on, Dearing completed nineteenth as Brazil’s Marcela Cunha took gold. “I am fairly damaged,” she advised reporters after the race.

4 months later when CNN speaks together with her, the ache remains to be uncooked.

“It wasn’t what I anticipated or anticipated of myself in any respect, I used to be actually upset by it,” Dearing mentioned.

“It is all the time going to take a seat with me and I believe there’s nothing flawed with that — that is the eagerness I’ve for eager to be who I’m, I need to be among the finest athletes on the earth.

“Having that consequence sort of find yourself reflecting my lifetime of labor is what’s actually damage me for the time being.”

‘Gas for the hearth’

Months again into intensive coaching, for now Dearing’s focus is on the 2022 Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham — a fairly literal dwelling Video games for Dearing, born and raised within the West Midlands metropolis.

But given the extent of her disappointment, it’s maybe unsurprising that she has already set her sights on the Paris Olympics in 2024, with qualification set to happen a yr previous to the Video games.

If the “gas for the hearth” stoked by the damage of Tokyo wasn’t sufficient, Dearing would arrive in Paris with out the added weight of being a first-time Olympian — a weight she admits she did not absolutely respect on the time.

“I did not give it as a lot thought as I believe I ought to have,” Dearing mentioned.

“I assumed, ‘I am racing in opposition to the identical ladies that I all the time race in opposition to … how completely different will the Video games be?’ And so they have been.

“It was thrilling and wonderful, but additionally extremely terrifying. Having that data of all these feelings — every thing that is happening — is just going to make my thoughts body and my place stronger for Paris.”

Return of followers

On prime of that, there’s the potential increase of getting followers, family and friends current. Having debuted at a Video games not like some other in historical past — run with out followers because of the pandemic — Dearing will embrace a way more standard expertise within the French capital ought to she qualify.

“I can expertise the Video games as they have been previously — have followers there and go reside it,” she mentioned.

“I’ve solely ever had somebody come and watch me as soon as at a contest overseas, so I am sort of used to nobody being there for me, however Paris can be a fantastic alternative to get family and friends out and get everybody having a superb time.

“Hopefully, I swim effectively and have a very good race after which have a giant celebration on the finish — it is all a part of the enjoyment of the game.”

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