Tom Dean is aiming for a career high after winning his fifth Commonwealth Games silver


Timing is everything and Tom Dean believes his frantic racing schedule will pay off when it comes down to it at the Paris Olympics.

Dean was one of the stars of last year’s Tokyo Games, winning gold in the 200m freestyle and 4 x 200m freestyle.

But he has set himself a tight schedule for 2022 to make your limbs ache just thinking about it and massively increased his mileage in training to be competitive at more events in 2024.

At the last World Championships in Budapest he won three bronze medals, which were upgraded to five silver medals here at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre.

Dean was edged out by Scotland’s Duncan Scott in a reversal of the final Olympic result in the 200m freestyle but tonight beat him in the 100m with a blue ribbon only to find Australian Kyle Chambers was quicker.

He later teamed with James Guy, Jacob Whittle and Joe Litchfield for another second in the 4x200m freestyle relay, again Australia won gold.

“Five Commonwealth medals is not a setback in my eyes,” he said.

“It’s a springboard towards the Olympics, it’s the pinnacle of this sport. The home crowd is incredible and the Commonwealths are important, but the Olympics take priority in terms of our schedule. It is the first step in a two or three year journey.

“It’s a tough program and adding disciplines can add three swimming laps with heats, semifinals and finals. I’m trying to do my best, 40 races in two months is tough, but we’re doing it now to prepare for Paris.”

Adam Peaty returned to the pool for the 50m breaststroke semifinals, still in pain from his first loss in eight years in the 100m breaststroke last night.

It’s the only major medal he’s missing from his collection, but he needs to find more to beat Australia’s Sam Williamson, the fastest qualifier, on Tuesday.

Peaty questioned his love of swimming after the heats and then the starter after booking his last spot, claiming swimmers were kept on their blocks for too long.

“The same was with the 100m and the heats and semifinals of the 50m, either they have to change their approach or change the starter,” he said.

Elsewhere, Abbie Wood admits she’s getting used to crowds again after her fourth Commonwealth Games medal.

The return of fans to the sport was one of the many positive aspects of these games in Birmingham, with this sparkling new swimming pool packed to capacity every night.

But the 23-year-old from Buxton admits the noise also takes some getting used to.

(Getty Images)

She broke through in a behind-closed-doors International Swimming League season and competed in last year’s Tokyo Olympics with no fans in the stands, where she finished 11 hundredths short of a medal in her lifetime.

After two silvers and one bronze in the relay, Wood finished third in the women’s 200m medley final with a time of 2:10.68, just behind Australia’s Kaylee McKeown and Canada’s gold medalist Summer McIntosh.

“I feel such a load being lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “After the season I’ve had I’m really happy with it and it’s a sigh of relief.

“I didn’t feel any pressure from anyone on purpose, but I had my family here and I wanted to do good things for them. It was a good step for my confidence that I can do it without a crowd.

“This is the best season of a season, I couldn’t ask for more after such a tough cycle after the Olympic Games. Fourth, getting it together for this week was so overwhelming, I’m super excited. It was quite busy after the Olympics, so I’ll definitely have a nice break afterwards and celebrate with my family.”

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