Alice Dearing, 24, made history in 2021 by becoming the first black woman to represent Great Britain in swimming at the Olympic Games.

Open water talent Dearing ranked 4th at FINA Marathon Swim Qualifier 2021 in Setubal (POR) on Saturday June 19, securing an Olympic berth in 2h02m01s20. 

The British athlete just missed the podium in Setubal behind Kate Sanderson of Canada who came third for bronze in 2h01m58s40. 

This is the most motivated I have ever been in the sport. A medal in Tokyo would be incredible obviously. If I can inspire anybody, a little black girl or boy, to get in the water and give it a try, I’ve done myself proud!”
By A. Dearing

Dearing was amongst the 15 female swimmers who clinched one of the remaining spots and qualified for the Games (complete list available here). 

In addition to becoming the first black women to represent Britain in a swimming event at an Olympics, Dearing is set to become only the third black Team GB swimmer.

In an interview with BBC sport, Dearing said: “I have been the only black swimmer on Team GB for about five years now. It is kind of sad because we are in 2021 and I really wish I wasn’t. I have always dealt with it and told myself that these are the circumstances that I am in.

Determined to break the stereotypes, Dearing said: ”For me, swimming is a life-saving skill. It can literally save your life. The fact that people brush this aside and ignore it, is concerning.

I have heard a lot of people on TV saying that black people can’t swim because they are too heavy. But it is not the case, you’re really not too heavy. It’s a complete myth.”

I want to use my experience to show people that it is possible to swim being a black person, being a black woman with afro hair. It is completely possible,” Dearing, who swims nine times a week, concludes.