Marathon swimmer Alice Dearing talks to Annie and Louise about her life into swimming and then open water swimming. And being one of the co-founders of the Black Swimming Association.

Alice is one of Great Britain’s top female marathon swimmers, having represented Great Britain at numerous international competitions, including three World Championships.

She placed 11th in the Mixed 5km Open Water event in Gwangju in 2019, after finishing 17th in the Women’s 10km race.

Dearing previously competed at the World Championships in Budapest in 2017, where she achieved a top-25 finish in the individual 10km event and helped achieve a placing of fifth against a talented international field in the Mixed 5km Team Relay.

Between those Worlds appearances, Dearing placed 12th over 10km at the 2018 European Championships.

In 2016, she was crowned World Junior Open Water champion in Hoorn, the Netherlands, which cemented her position on the world marathon swimming stage.

Her senior international bow came at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, when Dearing raced the 5km distance.

Next summer Alice Dearing,  who is Britain’s best open-water swimmer, intends to flip 125 years of history on its head in Tokyo – the small matter of a global pandemic permitting. And, as becomes clear over a thought-provoking and nuanced conversation, that is only the start of her ambitions.

“Being a poster girl for black swimming is exciting, because genuinely I love the sport and I want to see as many people doing it as possible,” Dearing says. “But it’s also terrifying because there’s a lot of pressure. I have rationalised it – if not me, then who? And I want this to happen as soon as possible, to break that barrier.”

It is not the only one Dearing intends to shatter. Last year she became the lead ambassador for the Black Swimming Association, a charity that encourages black people to swim, and she illustrates the scale of the challenge by citing shocking figures from Sport England, which show that 95% of black adults and 80% of black children in England do not swim – while only 1% of registered competitive swimmers with Swim England identify as black or mixed race.

Alice talks about her family background and how she got into swimming and her Olympic ambitions and desire for cultural change.

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