Tom Dean produced the outstanding British swim on a thrilling opening day of the International Swimming League (ISL) final, making it back-to-back Men’s 400m Freestyle wins for the National Centre Bath man.
While Dean’s London Roar team ultimately find themselves third at the halfway stage of the grand finale – thanks, in part, to some quite stunning swims from Cali Condors and Energy Standard’s big-hitters – the European champion picked up where he left off in last weekend’s semi-final, timing his effort in the middle-distance event to perfection to claim a vital 10 points and pipping Danas Rapsys to the victory.
Dean’s time, incidentally, was the second-quickest short-course time ever by a Brit in that event – and he insists he has not hit top gear yet either.
“I’m really happy. Moving it on, semi to final, is always a good thing. It’s nice to get another personal best as well,” said Tom.
“There is absolutely more there. I know I can go out faster, try to keep it long and strong that first 200m and still have a back end, so there’s more there for sure.”
Adam Peaty put in a brilliant semi-final performance, and he was agonisingly close to another Men’s 50m Breaststroke victory for London this time out, ultimately placing second behind Ilya Shymanovich by 0.02 seconds.
Freya Anderson has enjoyed a memorable second season in the ISL, with some eye-opening efforts across Roar’s relay teams.
That was the case once again in the Duna Arena this afternoon, as the former Ellesmere College Titan – who was coached by Alan Bircher until her 2020 switch to Bath – played a crucial part in Roar finishing second in the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay.
Cali Condors had built a seemingly insurmountable lead in that contest as Freya dived in on the freestyle leg, only for the World Championship medallist to claw back nearly 1.5 seconds on Condors’ freestyler Erika Brown across the four short-course lengths. She ultimately touched second, despite those heroics.
Earlier in the session, Anderson opened up for London’s Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay quartet. Anna Hopkin was the anchor leg and impressed again as they finished third. The Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay saw James Guy and Scott McLay involved in earning London a fourth-place finish.
Elsewhere in the Hungarian capital’s iconic venue, Duncan Scott secured an ISL podium place by placing third in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley, while Holly Hibbott was fourth after a measured swim in the Women’s 400m Freestyle. Luke Greenbank, meanwhile, broke his British record yet again in the Men’s 200m Backstroke, ultimately placing fourth.
The reigning champions, Energy Standard, find themselves on the shoulder of the Condors after day one, with Georgia Davies again playing her part for Energy, leading off a Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay team that would go on to touch fourth.
And after three more world records were broken on Saturday, it promises to be an unmissable day two, as Dean summed up afterwards.
“The calibre of swimmer here and the swims themselves are world-class, they’ve never been seen before. It’s so exciting to be a part of and I think it pushes everyone on,” he added.
“There’s obviously work to be done for us in the London Roar, but there are also positives to take away from it. Mel Marshall was just saying, ‘it’s day two, day new’, so we’re going to start fresh and hit it hard.”
POINTS TOTALS AT END OF DAY ONE
Cali Condors: 267
Energy Standard: 239.5
London Roar: 199.5
LA Current: 177
The ISL 2020 final will draw to a conclusion from 5pm-7pm on Sunday, across BBC Sport, BBC iPlayer and red button, and the Eurosport Player