Tom Dean became England’s most successful athlete at a single Commonwealth game, emerging from Birmingham with a ‘special’ gold after six consecutive silvers.
Dean was beaten again by Duncan Scott in the men’s 200m individual medley on Wednesday night after also being passed by his friend and rival over the same distance in the freestyle at the weekend.
But alongside Brodie Williams, James Wilby and James Guy, Dean finally got his hands on Commonwealth gold as England finished eight-hundredths of a second ahead of Australia in the men’s 4x100m medley relay final, while Scotland completed the podiums at a raucous Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
The previous English record for the most medals won in games co-hosted by Brian Brinkley, Mel Marshall and Siobhan Marie O’Connor was therefore broken by Dean, who hit lucky seven after just beating Kyle Chalmers in who had ousted free skating to get his team home in three minutes and 31.8 seconds.
The two-time Olympic champion said: “Finally six silver medals and one gold medal. This was such a sweet way to end an amazing week. The big number seven this week that is so special.
“Silver is incredible. I’m really happy to walk away with so many silvers, but we’re naturally competitive people, it’s in our DNA, so it hurts a little when you’re so close to getting that gold. That’s why I’m so glad it came together here.”
Dean clinched a famous Olympic gold in the men’s 200m freestyle last year, edging out Scott, who has taken revenge on the Londoner with two singles victories in recent days.
Scott was early on the final night of swimming at these games before setting a winning time of one minute 56.88 seconds, withstanding a late attack from Dean, who was 0.13 seconds off the leaderboard after he finishing seventh halfway down was a bad backstroke.
“I just can’t get away from that man out there,” Dean chuckled. “I knew he wanted to come to England and stamp his name as Scotsman. That was such a big deal for the Scots.
“Every race I’ve ridden since the Olympics feels like you’ve got a target in your back. You know what, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It means I’ve done something great in sport.”
While Dean amassed three individual and four relay gongs at Birmingham 2022, Scott has two gold and four bronze medals, raising his overall record to a Scottish record of 13 medals in three appearances.
“Rivalry or competition brings out the best in us,” Scott said. “He is Olympic champion in the 200m free, faster than me in the 100m free. Great racer, great competitor. I knew he would come home quickly.”
Ben Proud followed his men’s 50m butterfly gold with a win in the freestyle, his third consecutive title in the event after a time of 21.36s, 0.32s off England team-mate Lewis Burras on the third second place.
Proud also won the event at the World Championships in June and was delighted to bounce back after finishing fifth together at Tokyo 2020, saying: “So much has changed. This is really my year of salvation.
“Something clicked and I finally understood how to swim faster in the final. I managed to hold off the young guns for another year.”
Bethany Firth took Northern Ireland’s first Commonwealth gold in the pool in the women’s 200m freestyle S14, followed by England duo Jessica-Jane Applegate and Louise Fiddes in second and third place.
There was more rejoicing for Northern Ireland when Daniel Wiffen took silver in the men’s 1500m final, where England’s Luke Turley became bronze medalist, while England finished third in the women’s 4×100 medley relay final.
Emma McKeon – whose private life has come under scrutiny for the past week amid speculation she and Cody Simpson had fallen out with Chalmers – helped Australia win as they topped the table with six gold, one silver and one bronze medalists who led individual medals.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tom-dean-duncan-scott-england-ben-proud-scotland-b2137691.html Tom Dean finally wins gold and becomes England’s best individual Commonwealth game