Duncan Scott tips Tom Dean to surpass his title haul and relishes Olympics showdown with Leon Marchand

Scottish swimmer welcomes the scrutiny ahead of Paris games this summer

Duncan Scott backed Tom Dean to take his title as Britain’s most decorated Olympian at a single Games.

The 26-year-old won one gold and three silvers in Tokyo to become the first Team GB athlete to win four medals at one Olympics. Now Dean, his relay team-mate and compatriot, is setting his sights on surpassing Scott and winning five.

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“There’s no reason why not,” said Scott of the prospect. “Tom’s a talented swimmer, one of the best in the world. He’s one of my team-mates and at the end of the day we’ll cross over in a few of those events, as well as the relay. What do they say, ‘shoot for the stars and you land on the moon,’ if he keeps his targets high, there’s no reason why he can’t walk away as a multi medallist.”

Duncan Scott and Tom Dean will fly the flag for Team GB at the Oympics.Duncan Scott and Tom Dean will fly the flag for Team GB at the Oympics.
Duncan Scott and Tom Dean will fly the flag for Team GB at the Oympics.

Scott has paved the way when it comes to British swimmers taking on big race programmes. He once raced 15 times in 48 hours at university level and entered nine events at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. “It can be an emotional rollercoaster,” he said. “You must make sure your highs aren’t too high, and your lows aren’t too low, to stay steady throughout. You need to get good arousal at the right times, prioritise nutrition and recovery because when it gets to day nine, people are starting to get tired and that gives you an opportunity.”

Scott’s meticulous approach to preparation and post-meet reflection has been fostered by long-time coach Steven Tigg, who has coached Scott at his base in Stirling since the age of eight, a long-term partnership somewhat atypical in the current climate. “Our relationship has changed a lot over time,” said Scott, who is an ambassador for Aldi, who are proud Official Partners of Team GB & ParalympicsGB, supporting all athletes through to Paris 2024. “He’s put so much belief in me to get to the heights I have, and we’ve worked together to get to the Olympic Games. He’s a great leader in the sense that it’s not just the two of us, it’s the support team around us, strength and conditioning, physio, psychology, and the way he can incorporate that in the programme.”

Nutrition is another crucial part of Scott’s approach to conditioning and preparation. Aldi, the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB, supports all athletes with a monthly food voucher, to fuel them through training, competitions, and past Olympic Games.

Scott looks set to be a key member of the British 4x200m freestyle relay squad that will head to Paris as world champions and just half a second shy of the world record. He also hopes to help the 4x100m squad reach their potential having banked a qualification place at February’s World Championships in Doha. Selection for individual events will rest on performances at the British Trials in London next month but the 200m individual medley, comprised of all four strokes, stands as his focus as the holder of world and Olympic silver.

Scott is relishing a showdown with Leon Marchand.Scott is relishing a showdown with Leon Marchand.
Scott is relishing a showdown with Leon Marchand.

“It’s the ultimate test of the all-around swimmer and that’s one of the main reasons I enjoy it so much,” says Scott. “There are so many fine details that you can work on. I was never blessed with a great breaststroke leg, unfortunately, so my focus has been working on that and the transitions and turns themselves. The best in the world has those skills to a high level and I’ve got to try to stay up there.”

The best in the world right now is Leon Marchand – dubbed the next Michael Phelps after breaking the 400m IM world record. With gold medal chances in multiple events, the 21-year-old Frenchman is shaping up to be the face of his home Games. “I think the prospect of going up against Leon at home is quite special,” said Scott. “I get excited just thinking about it. I want to race the best in the world and go head-to-head with them. Leon is going to be there and he’s going to be at his best. Swimming is one of those sports where you can’t control whatever’s going on in another lane. If I do my job and stick to what I do well, why not.”

With Scott to the fore, Team GB won a record eight Olympic swimming medals in Tokyo. The onus will be on the group to match, or exceed, those feats in Paris and Scott welcomes the scrutiny. “Expectations should be high for the British swimming team now,” said Scott. “They have been raised by what we did in Tokyo and knowing the group like I do, everyone’s just going to take that in their stride. No two Olympics are the same, we’re in slightly different shape now and we’ve got some young swimmers who have come through in the last three years. I’m not going to sit here and compare it to Tokyo, but I think we’ve got a pretty good team.”

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Many of Scott’s best moments in the sport have been shared with Adam Peaty. The greatest breaststroker of all time, who stepped away from swimming in 2023 to protect his mental health, is now back in the fold ahead of the Olympics. “I think we take Adam for granted sometimes with what he does and what he’s achieved, given how dominant he has been for such a long period of time,” said Scott. “I don’t know anyone else in British sport with that dominance. It’s great to see him coming back into the fold and brings an extra level to this British swimming team. It gives the rest of us confidence because we know what he’s capable of.”

Aldi are proud Official Partners of Team GB & ParalympicsGB, supporting all athletes through to Paris 2024

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