03:44PM, Wednesday 25 August 2021
Aspiring swimmers will be given the chance to meet Olympic hero Tom Dean when the double gold medalist visits the Braywick Leisure Centre on Monday.
The 21-year-old will be at the venue from 2pm until 3pm on the day, where he will be available for autographs and photos.
Dean, from Maidenhead, enjoyed a hugely successful Olympic games in Tokyo, picking up two gold medals in the 200m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay.
The event on Bank Holiday Monday is free and is open to all ages, and Jonny Walker, marketing and events manager at Leisure Focus, which runs Braywick, said it was a chance for more young swimmers to take inspiration from the Olympic champion.
He added that Dean himself was in a similar position to today’s youngsters 10 years ago, before embarking on his double gold medal journey earlier this summer.
“Tom has been extremely busy and wanted to do something for the local community because he swam with the Maidenhead Marlins for many years,” Jonny said.
“We wanted to do a meet-and-greet, so kids and local swimming clubs can meet Tom and give them a little bit of inspiration.
“He [Tom] was the last person to fill up the water [at the new leisure centre] so to speak, so he has got a little bit of a connection with it.
“And it is just celebrating the fact that he is from Maidenhead and we are lucky enough to be able to provide this event.
“He was able to fit us into his schedule and hopefully a lot of people will be off work and be able to make it along.”
Jonny added that he recently sat down with Dean following his success in Japan, and added that he remains as humble as before despite his recent stardom.
“He cycled in, and there was me expecting him to have bodyguards,” Jonny said. “You would never have thought he had won two gold medals two weeks before, he was just very normal and humble.”
Other events are planned to mark the borough's successful Olympians and Paralympians, as revealed by the leader of the council earlier this month.