A SWIMMING club in Maidenhead has seen dozens of parents enquire for their children to start lessons since Tom Dean became a double Olympic gold champion.
Members of the committee for Maidenhead Marlins Swimming Club spoke to the Windsor Observer of how Tom Dean inspired many people, young and old, to take up swimming during the Tokyo Games.
Rob El-Hawary, Committee Member in Masters Swimming at the club, said: “It’s going to inspire a whole new generation of swimmers. Every Olympic year does that generally but for Tom and Maidenhead and the whole of the UK, this will definitely inspire a new generation of swimmers.
“The club we’re at where Tom started, we are already seeing lots and lots of enquiries for new swimmers to start. Over 30 so far in the last week are between eight to 12-year’s-old.”
Chris Ashford, who is also a member of the committee, added: “People will get to hear about the club and we have a masters programme which is for anyone who is over 18 and isn’t competing. We will get more swimmers indefinitely.”
Maidenhead Marlins is based at Braywick Leisure Centre and is home to the very place where Tom Dean began his Olympic career.
He joined the club when he was eight and moved into coach Paul Lloyd’s squad at around 11-year’s-old.
The swimmer was described by Mr Lloyd as a ‘focussed, determined young man with lots of natural talent’.
He said: “He joined the club around eight years old and moved into my squad at around 11, about to turn 12.
“He was a very focused, determined young man with lots of natural talent.
“Then it was a bit of a meandering journey, with the ebbs and flows of motivation through his early teens. But we managed to support him and keep him focused.
“He was always a racer and always very, very determined.”
And after winning two gold medals at Tokyo, the Maidenhead swimmer has become an inspiration for many residents in the community.