Alice Dearing Becomes Britain’s First Black Female Olympic Swimmer


Setubal, Portugal today hosted the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier for women, with tomorrow bringing the men’s race. This is the third consecutive time the city has hosted the event, with this year’s edition carrying 15 Olympic roster spots up for grabs for each gender.

As a refresher, those open water athletes already qualified via their top 10 finishes at the 2019 FINA World Championships are listed at the bottom of this post.

For the rest of the slots, this is the final opportunity to make the grade. The nine highest placed athletes for each event will obtain one quota place. Each nation can qualify a maximum of one athlete per gender.

In regards to the continental representation, the highest placed athlete in the 10km event, not yet qualified, from each of five continents will directly qualify. Additionally, the host country of Japan will automatically qualify one quota spot for men and one for women.

Taking the women’s 10k was 2016 Olympian Anna Olasz of Hungary. She beat the field by a mere 2 seconds, with Spaniard Paula Ruiz Bravo and Canadian Kate Farley Sanderson hitting the time pad separated just by .40.

Great Britain’s Alice Dearing placed 4th here in Setubal, good enough to notch her name on the British roster for Tokyo. In doing so, she becomes the first-ever black female swimmer to represent the nation at an Olympic Games. Her British teammate Daniele Huskisson placed 13th.

As for Dearing, earlier this year she told ESPN she wants to be remembered for more than just the color of her skin.

“It is similar to what Idris Elba said about not wanting to be the first Black James Bond. We’re more than just our skin colour. I don’t think Black people want to be remembered as just Black people at the end of the day.

“We want to be remembered for our achievements and what we bring to the world instead of: ‘Oh they were Black and they did this.’ It should be: ‘I did this, and I also happen to be Black.’ But with swimming, it’s obviously more controversial and more of an issue because of the stereotypes and racism which Black people face in swimming.” (ESPN)

Results from today:

  1. Anna Olasz (HUN) – qualified
  2. Paula Ruiz Bravo (ESP) – qualified
  3. Kate Sanderson (CAN) – qualified
  4. Alice Dearing (GBR) – qualified
  5. Angelica Andre (POR) – qualified
  6. Maria De Valdes (ESP) – not qualified 
  7. Cecilia Biagioli (ARG) – qualified
  8. Anastasia Kirpichnikova (RUS) – qualified
  9. Samantha Arevalo (ECU) – qualified
  10. Mafalda Rosa (POR) – not qualified
  11. Spela Perse (SLO) – qualified
  12. Yumi Kida (JPN) –  qualified
  13. Danielle Huskisson (GBR) – not qualified
  14. Reka Rohacs (HUN) – not qualified
  15. Michelle Weber (RSA) –  qualified


  • Paola Perez (VEN) – America
  • Krystyna Panchishko (UKR) – Europe
  • Li-Shan Chantal Liew (SGP) – Asia
  • Souad Nefissa Cherouati (ALG) – Africa



  • Florian WELLBROCK (GER)
  • Marc-Antoine OLIVER (FRA)
  • Kristof  RASOVSZKY (HUN)
  • Gregorio PLATRINIERI (ITA)
  • Ferry WEERTMAN (NED)
  • Alberto MARTINEZ (ESP)
  • Mario SANZULLO (ITA)
  • David AUBRY (FRA)


  • Xin XIN (CHN)
  • Haley ANDERSON (USA)
  • Rachele BRUNI (ITA)
  • Ana Marcela CUNHA (BRA)
  • Ashley TWICHELL (USA)
  • Kareena LEE (AUS)
  • Finnia WUNRAM (GER)
  • Leonie BECK (GER)
  • Sharon van ROUWENDAAL (NED)

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Coach Mike 1952
1 year ago

Congratulations Alice! Great work.

1 year ago

Why are there 11 swimmers plus 4 continental swimmers listed as qualifiers?
I thought it was 10 + 9 + 5 + Japan, did no one from Oceania participate (one of the 5 continental qualification regions)?

Reply to  Dan
1 year ago

With Australia having qualified Kareena Lee via the World Champs route this left the oceania spot to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. New Zealand wouldnt allow swimmers to qualify via the continental route, saying it wasnt competitive enough to warrant sending them. So New Zealand threw away an olympic spot as rarely does anyone else from the oceania region compete in the 10km.

1 year ago

Congratulations, history maker! Fantastic to see.

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 year ago

She is half english

Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 year ago

She is 100% English/British, because her nationality has nothing to do with the colour of her skin.

Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

I mean half ghanean / half english (ethnicity not nationality)

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