03:24PM, Monday 24 May 2021
Tom Dean. Credit: Clare Green/Matchtight.
Maidenhead’s Tom Dean finished with six medals after a gruelling week of racing at the European Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Adam Peaty stole the show as he completed the ‘quadruple-quadruple’ by claiming his fourth title of the week at his fourth consecutive European Championships, but Dean and the rest of the team more than played their part in taking Great Britain to the top of the medal table.
In his main event, the 200m freestyle final, Dean had to be content with a bronze medal behind compatriot Duncan Scott and Russia’s Martin Malyutin. But across the week he produced some exceptional swims to step onto the podium six times.
It was Dean who was out quickest, leading at the first turn, but it was nip and tuck throughout with tenths of a second separating the main protagonists in the centre lanes. Scott took up the charge with 50m to go, and both men had to dig deep after busy schedules to touch home for silver and bronze respectively.
Dean said: “The momentum in the GB team is unlike anything I've ever felt - and I know I've only been on three or four international teams, but this is just something really special.
“Look at Kathleen Dawson, look at Molly Renshaw, and that's just tonight, we've had five days of this. The relays have been good fun, but the real winners at this comp is GB and the momentum we've carried through from such an incredible trials. It just makes me so excited for two months’ time out in Tokyo.”
The national anthem was belted out for Dean and his teammates in the mixed 4x100 freestyle relay final, a thrilling end to Saturday’s action. Britain are building a reputation as a relay powerhouse and this strong quartet of Scott, Dean, Anna Hopkin and Freya Anderson got the job done, equalling the championship record in the process.
After their medals in the 200m freestyle Scott and Dean set the team up beautifully, leaving their female counterparts to bring the gold medal home. Hopkin hunted down the Italians before Anderson swam a superb anchor leg to take the lead and hold off the Dutch.
Dean won silver alongside Matthew Richards, James Guy and Scott in the final of the 4x200m freestyle, touching home in 7.04.61, behind the Russian team in 7.03.48.
The Maidonian also produced a top-drawer swim in one of his less favoured events, the heats of the 4x100m medley team relay, helping ensure Luke Greenbank, Peaty, Scott and James Guy were fresh to finish nearly a second clear of their closest rivals in the final.
Great Britain’s swimmers amassed a total of 26 medals, 11 gold, nine silver and six bronze, to top the medal table ahead of Russia and Italy.
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