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The swimmer poised to make British Olympic history

December 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

On a chilly English November morning, Alice Dearing has woken up before sunrise to do what she does every day of the week; swim back and forth, length after length, hour after hour, in her university's swimming pool. England is in the midst of a global pandemic, but the 23-year-old has history in her sights.

As the only Black person on the British Swimming team, Dearing has sought inspiration from American Olympic gold medalists Cullen Jones and Simone Manuel and Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson.

Despite growing up in a diverse community in Birmingham, England's second-largest city, Dearing and her mother were often the only two Black people at swimming meets -- a fact she says she was oblivious to for the most part.

Earlier this year, Dearing, a 2016 World Junior Open Water champion, co-founded the Black Swimming Association (BSA), a charity which encourages swimming participation and works to prevent drowning in Black and minority ethnic communities.

Being the poster girl for Black swimming while also studying towards a master's degree in social media and political communications might be overwhelming for some, but Dearing takes it all in her stride.

"The opportunity that I have with potentially qualifying to the Olympics as being the first Black woman to swim for Britain at the Olympic Games, this is a chance to really drive home these changes, this diversity and cements that swimming is a sport for everybody," she adds.

Once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and local swimming pools reopen for the general public, Dearing hopes to see more people trying out swimming.

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