Scott heads home to beat Dean to win 200m freestyle gold for Scotland

Who says sequels are never a patch on the original? In four staggeringly intense rounds, the two greatest freestylers in British swimming history, Duncan Scott and Tom Dean, went blow for blow, eyeball to eyeball, on a humdinger of a final Commonwealth Games 200m. Just like they did at the Olympics last year. Only this time, their battle was accompanied by a soundtrack of deafening screams – and came with a surprising twist.

In Tokyo, these two great friends – one from Scotland, the other from England – battled it out to the line, with Dean winning by just 0.04 seconds. In doing so, they became the first British couple to finish on an Olympic swimming podium in over 100 years in the 200m freestyle.

Most expected history to repeat itself, especially since last month Scott was forced to pull out of the world championships in Budapest because he was struggling with high-intensity efforts at training. Instead, he judged his race perfectly, watching Dean for the first two laps before moving alongside him on the third and pulling away in the final 50 yards.

“We both love it,” explained Scott, whose winning time was 1min 45.02sec, 0.39 ahead of his friend. “It’s a really positive thing. It’s a nice change to be on different sides of the table this time. Scotland versus England. It’s always positive, we will rekindle the relationship by returning to the GB team.

This post was shared by Dean, who said: “We’re done and he just said ‘One more-two’. We said the same thing at tryouts and at the Olympics last year. Another double at international competition and we’re going to keep doing that and keep doing that.

For good measure, Scott – who is the most decorated swimmer in Team Britain’s Olympic history – went on to claim bronze in the 400m individual medley behind New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt later in the evening.

Ben Proud celebrates winning the 50m butterfly
Ben Proud celebrates winning the 50m butterfly. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Watching was Dean, who explained what made their friendship so special. “We push each other,” he said. “The bond we have is more important than our rivalry. We push each other. I can’t get away from him! Every time I race he’s there, whether it’s a little little competition at home or the Olympics, he’s still there. He’s annoying at times – but that’s only a good thing and I’ll always have fond memories of him.

The only swimming gold for England on day two of competition came in the opening race of the night as Ben Proud escaped to win the 50m butterfly in a Games record in 22.81, beating Tzen Wei Teong of Singapore by 0.40 seconds.

It was redemption for Proud, who had won this event in Glasgow in 2014 before being disqualified at the Gold Coast in 2018 for a false start. “It’s more than just a win,” Proud said. “It’s my career, it’s my legacy, it’s what I’ve dedicated my life to. It may be just another medal, but for me it is very special. This is my redemption.

There was also a silver medal for England’s Imogen Clark, who clocked a lifetime best of 30.02 in the women’s 50m breaststroke finishing behind South Africa’s Lara van Niekerk, who returned to the house in 29.73.

What made Clark’s swimming even more impressive was that she suffered a severe seizure when she was 14 and, having been diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy, her doctor told her to give up her sport. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” Clark said. “It was absolutely amazing.”

In total, England clinched one gold and six silver on day two, including Hannah Russell in the women’s S13 50m freestyle, Paul Williams in the 100m backstroke and the men’s and women’s 4x100m relays.

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There will likely be more gold medals for England on Sunday with Olympic champion Adam Peaty advancing to the 100m breaststroke final fastest.

Peaty has only been back to swimming for four weeks after breaking his foot, but qualified comfortably in 59.02 seconds – 0.78 ahead of nearest rival Zac Stubblety-Cook of Australia . “Not bad for four weeks of training, eh?” Beaty said. “I really enjoyed it tonight. My times are obviously a bit off. It’s been a very tough season so far, mentally and physically, mostly physically, but I’m still getting results.

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