Alice Dearing and Hector Pardoe will contest the marathon swimming events at Tokyo 2020 as the pair became the final aquatics athletes selected by the British Olympic Association (BOA) for this summer's Olympic Games.
Dearing and Pardoe secured Team GB's quota spots in the distance contests with a pair of eye-catching performances at the recent Olympic qualifier in Portugal, with Pardoe surging clear late on to win the men's 10km race. Loughborough University athlete Dearing, meanwhile, moved her way through the field across the four laps to finish strongly, touching fourth in the women's 10km event.
The duo's selection has now been confirmed by the BOA, meaning they will join 30 other swimmers, 12 divers and artistic swimmers Kate Shortman and IsabelleThorpe on the plane to Tokyo.
Both will be making their Olympic debuts in Japan as they continue to build on promising young careers. Dearing was crowned World Junior champion back in 2016, while Pardoe's recent rise has seen him claim top-10 finishes at the FINA Marathon Swim World Series event in Doha for the past two years after a couple of bronze medals at World Junior level.
The women's race is scheduled to take place at the Odaiba Marine Park on Wednesday 4th August, with the men's event following the day after at the same venue.
On Dearing and Pardoe's selections, Team GB Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “I’d like to congratulate Alice and Hector on their selection and am pleased to see a really strong swimming squad finalised for the Tokyo Games. Both athletes put in confident performances at their qualifier in Portugal recently, especially Hector’s first place finish. Both athletes should feel very proud of making it to their debut Games and their performances this season will put them in good stead for competition in Tokyo.
"Today also marks a significant moment in British Olympic history as Alice becomes the first black female swimmer to compete for Team GB, something she should feel proud of and is an important moment in the 125 year history of British Olympians going to the Games.”
British Swimming Marathon Swimming Lead Bernie Dietzig - who was in Portugal to see the pair secure Olympic qualification - added: "They have both done a superb job of qualifying for Tokyo 2020. Alice's fourth place in Portugal was a really strong finish in a really strong field, while Hector delivered the perfect race in his event. They have both done a superb job and we now look forward to seeing them compete on the Olympic stage.
"All four of our athletes in Portugal swam well, notably Tobias Robinson, who put a brilliant race together and was very close behind but obviously couldn't qualify because of the one-per-nation rule."
Speaking about making her first Olympic team, Dearing said: "I'm so excited and honoured to be on the Tokyo 2020 Team GB squad. Achieving this is beyond my dreams and I’m so thrilled to be representing GB on the highest stage of my sport."
Pardoe said: "The feeling of qualifying for my first Olympics is even more incredible than I ever envisioned it being."
While Dearing and Pardoe’s selections complete the aquatics team heading to the Olympics, Britain’s Paralympic swimming team is yet to be announced. Look out for news on those selections next week.