Having burst into a nation’s conscience with a double Olympic triumph, the weight of expectation now rests firmly on Tom Dean’s shoulders as he gets set to perform in front of a passionate home crowd this summer.
Following three bronze medals at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, the goal for this summer couldn’t be more clear: To return to the top the podium at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
It’s a target that comes with considerable pressure, but the London native will be driven, as ever, by his personal mantra: “If it was easy, everyone would do it”.
“There’s always going to be pressure, it’s unavoidable”, he explained. “It’s learning to manage the day-to-day physical pressures of training and the mental pressures on race day.”
Birmingham marks the latest challenge in a summer that has provided a unique competition schedule, which unusually has seen the Commonwealth Games preceded by a World Championships. With a congested calendar, preparation has been key.
“Training is 90% physical 10% mental but racing is the other way around”, said Tom. “The end goal is what motivates me on the off days. Every session is a piece of a jigsaw.”
He continued: “I push myself every day to be better. The best part about competing is seeing the hard work come together.”
Here’s hoping that the effort brings the desired reward in Birmingham.