Flatmates and record-breakers – a look at Tom Dean and Duncan Scott

Tom Dean and Duncan Scott celebrate (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)
11:44am, Tue 27 Jul 2021
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Tom Dean claimed Great Britain’s first Olympic gold medal in any men’s freestyle event in 113 years after pipping compatriot and Tokyo 2020 flatmate Duncan Scott in the men’s 200 metres event.

Dean produced the performance of his life in the final, clocking a national record time of one minute and 44.22 seconds as he and Scott became the first two British male swimmers to share a podium since the 1908 Games.

Here, the PA news agency looks at things you may not know about the pair who produced a historic one-two for Team GB.

Record-breakers

Tom Dean, left, and Duncan Scott claimed a historic one-two for Team GB (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Dean is sharing an apartment with Scott during their time together in the Japanese capital. They appear close out of the pool and in it, only a wafer-thing 0.04secs separated them. Nevertheless, not since Henry Taylor and Thomas Battersby in the 1500m freestyle and Frederick Holman and William Robinson in the 200m breaststroke have two British male swimmers been on an Olympic podium together. This was also the first time in 113 years that two different swimmers – Dean and Adam Peaty – have bagged golds for the nation at the same Games.

Gold alters study plans?

Dean is studying at the University of Bath (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Not only is Dean a champion swimmer, he is studying for a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Bath. However, he put the books to one side to compete in these Olympic Games, where he is expected to race in both freestyle relay events. When asked whether he will resume his studies in September, he pointed to his gold medal and said: “I think this kind of changes my plans slightly but we’ll see.”

Idolising Phelps

Dean says he idolises 23-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps, pictured (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Archive)

A few weeks after taking up swimming at his local club in Maidenhead aged eight, Dean remembers being on holiday and watching in awe as Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time with 23 golds, won a record eight titles at Beijing 2008. Dean said: “Watching his final relay (at Rio 2016) was a real inspiration. When you get to the Games, you understand what a feat it was to secure as many Olympic medals as he did.”

Railing at Sun

Sun Yang was banned from competing at Tokyo 2020 (Tony Marshall/PA) (PA Archive)

There will be disappointment at missing out on top spot for Scott, who may be soothed slightly by seeing his team-mate at the top of the podium. That was not the case two years ago, when he won World Championship bronze, after refusing to shake hands with gold medallist Sun Yang, who had served a ban for a positive drugs test in 2014. Five years after that, he was involved in a separate anti-doping case, one which would lead to his suspension for Tokyo 2020. But after his win in the 200m freestyle, Sun was heard calling Scott a “loser”. Scott later said: “If (Sun) can’t respect our sport, then why should I respect him?”

It’s in the family

Scott finished just 0.04secs behind his GB team-mate (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Scott, a three-time world champion in relay events who won Commonwealth gold in the 100m freestyle three years ago, was Scotland’s first medallist of these Games. The Glaswegian was taught to swim by his father in a pool in Troon before attending Strathallan School on a sports scholarship. Aged 16, he won eight golds at the Scottish Age Group Nationals while older sister Alex was once the women’s swimming captain at the University of Dundee.

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