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Alice Dearing Is Making History As The First Black Woman To Represent Great Britain In Swimming At The Olympics

Alice Dearing Is Making History As The First Black Woman To Represent Great Britain In Swimming At The Olympics

She’ll be the first Black woman and the third Black person!

Alice Dearing is set to make history as the first Black woman swimmer to represent Great Britain in swimming at the Olympics, ESPN reports. 

Dearing never dreamed that she would compete in the Olympics. Although she enjoyed swimming as a sport, the reality of going to the prestigious games just seemed so far away. That was until she won the World Junior Championships in 2016. At every turn, she would prove more and more to herself that anything was possible.

“When I was younger, I never really thought about being an Olympian -- I thought ‘oh wow, it would be so cool,’ but I knew how much hard work went into it and honestly didn’t think I was cut out for it,” Dearing said.

Now, she’s earned herself a spot at the Tokyo Olympics, recently finishing fourth in a 10km marathon this weekend in Setubal, Portugal. 

“I’m really proud to have proved myself wrong, in a way, and to achieve beyond my wildest dreams...I was happy to make nationals, I was happy to make regionals, I was happy to make counties -- and to be put up for selection for the Olympics, it’s an incredible achievement. I’m so relieved and grateful and happy for everything I’ve invested,” she said.

Dearing set to become the first Black female swimmer representing Team Great Britain at the Olympics; the win is historical. She will also become the third Black swimmer ever for Team GB, following Kevin Burns, who competed in the 1876 Olympics, and Paul Marshall, who won a Bronze medal in the 1980 Olympics, which took place in Russia. 

The 24-year-old came in fourth at the race, clocking in at two hours, two minutes, and one second. The top nine were guaranteed an Olympic spot. Anna Olasz of Hungary won the event with a time of 2:01:55, followed by Paula Ruiz representing Spain and Canadian Kate Sanderson coming in third. 

“I’m really excited, relieved, grateful; it’s a huge mix of emotions. I can’t quite believe it. I’ve been daydreaming about this day for the past year and a half, ever since the first lockdown came in...So to have the day arrive, have everything fall into place, thankfully, have such a great team around supporting me, to get in, swim to my potential, and qualify the Olympic Games place is just a bit surreal right now. I can’t quite process it. It’ll probably take me quite a while to sleep tonight,” Dearing told reporters just after the race. 

The 24-year-old is headed to her very first Olympics and is just in a space of gratitude.

“I’m just so grateful to everybody who has helped me along the way, everyone who has believed me, encouraged me,” Dearing said.

Congratulations, Alice!

Photo Courtesy of Express & Star