Double Olympic champion Tom Dean admitted the congested nature of this summer’s swimming schedule means being at his best for the Commonwealth Games is a “really big ask”.
Only five weeks separate the World Championships – which took place in Budapest last month, rearranged as a knock-on consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic – and Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games.
With a European Championships following from August 11-21 in Rome, Dean recognises the strain he and many of his compatriots will be under and how difficult it will be to perfect their preparations.
But the Londoner is mindful of the Commonwealth Games being on home soil, which brings with it an extra layer of pressure and heightened interest, so the 22-year-old will do his utmost to make sure he is ready.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s a really big ask to be as good as we possibly can after the World Championships and then do it again for a home Games.
“Because it is a home Games it’s really important we target our performances there, they’re of equal importance and you’ve got to do your best in both of them.
“Having this month in-between, it’s almost a no man’s land, it’s not enough time for a full block of work and a full taper but it’s slightly too far apart for a one-week bounce-on. It is tricky.
“I’m glad I’m not the coach who has to write the training regime to get through it.”
After surprisingly topping the podium in the 200 metres freestyle in Japan last year and again in the relay event, walking away with a hat-trick of bronzes in Hungary might have felt like an anti-climax.
But Dean viewed the trip as a fundamental “learning” experience after a busier programme than he is used to – where he raced 12 times, more than double the five he had at the Olympics.
He added: “That was the biggest takeaway for me, the fact that I was able to do that and I was able to still do the best times I’ve ever done in my life, that was a real positive.
“On top of that, three medals from a World Championships is something you’re never going to be upset about.
“It’s always tough the year after the Olympics to get back on the horse and to go to the World Championships and stand on that podium.
“It was a tough schedule but I was able to walk away with a nice haul of medals and take a lot of confidence in where I am physically heading into a Commonwealth Games.”
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