It was a matter of best foes as Scotland’s Duncan Scott defeated England’s Tom Dean in the men’s 200m freestyle final in a reverse move of the Tokyo Olympics between Great Britain’s two greatest freestyle swimmers. Britain ever and good friends.
In Japan, Dean won last summer by just 0.04 second. This time, however, it was the Scot who proved too strong as he got an inch ahead of Dean midway through the second lap on the final lap before gaining significant momentum to win in a time of 1:45.02 – 0.39sec. for the Olympic champion. Australia’s Elijah Widdington won bronze.
The friends, who were the first British couple to finish together on an Olympic swimming podium in over 100 years in Japan and also win gold together as part of the 4x200m relay team, quickly congratulated each other with a warm hug in the pool at the Sandwell Aquatics Center . They would further expand their medal tally with Scott, 25, who claimed bronze in the 400-meter medley. Dean, 22, added a second silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
The Commonwealth Games may be known as the friendlies, and the Team GB duo may speak regularly about their relationship, but the crowds were partial in their support of the Englishman. A flag with the cross of St George had “God Save Tom Dean” written on it and at one point the support of Dean’s Team England colleagues sitting poolside was so frantic that two were saved alone from falling into the pool through the billboards.
Glasgowian Scott was forced to withdraw from this month’s World Championships in Budapest after contracting Covid, making his win in Birmingham all the more impressive. “I came in as a bit of a stranger” [due to a lack of racing this year]. I was gutted to miss the Worlds. I love being part of those teams.
“If I hadn’t been sure, I wouldn’t have done it twice. I know my own abilities and that’s why I trusted myself and the process, I trusted the coach.”