Alice Dearing set to become first black woman to represent Team GB in Olympic swimming
The 24-year-old finished fourth in Setubal in a 10 kilometre marathon race in which the top nine finishers earned a place at the Games in Tokyo, which get underway next month; Dearing is currently Great Britain's only black elite swimmer
Last Updated: 20/06/21 12:04am
Alice Dearing is set to become the first black woman to represent Great Britain in an Olympic swimming event after sealing her place at Tokyo 2020 in Saturday's qualifying event in Portugal.
The 24-year-old finished fourth in Setubal in a 10 kilometre marathon race in which the top nine finishers would earn a place at the Games in Tokyo, which get underway next month.
Fellow British swimmer Danielle Huskisson was vying with Dearing for the one spot available to each nation, but she ultimately finished 13th in the field of 47.
Dearing, a world junior champion in 2016, finished behind winner Anna Olasz of Hungary, Spain's Paola Ruiz Bravo and Canada's Kate Farley Sanderson.
Speaking to British Swimming after the event, Dearing said: "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!
"I'm just so grateful to everybody who has helped me along the way, everyone who has believed me, encouraged me.
"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.
"So 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 and I'm so relieved and grateful and happy for everything I've invested."
Dearing has been determined to use her position to promote inclusivity and diversity in the sport, with co-founding the Black Swimming Association being one of several initiatives she has been involved with.