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Supporting elite athletes

Olympic gold swimmer and sports scholar Tom Dean on the reality of being a student-athlete.

“Standing on the podium is a moment that I’ll cherish forever,” says Tom Dean, mechanical engineering student and double Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer. “It’s what I’ve been working towards for 15 years. It felt like a dream.”

Tom triggered the gold rush for University of Bath sportspeople at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, winning the 200m freestyle and men’s 4 x 200m relay. He’s been supported by a Bill Whiteley Sports Scholarship since 2018, which he describes as being ‘invaluable’.

“I train six days a week, making it impossible to work part-time, so the financial aid takes huge pressure off me. It’s amazing that donors are willing to help athletes at the start of their career, when they need it the most.”

From nutrition and equipment, to competition fees and travel – the cost of becoming a world-class contender is a challenge for many. At Bath, we have a proud history of supporting student-athletes to achieve their full potential.

We were the first UK university to offer sports scholarships in 1976; the alumni-supported Elite Athlete Fund provides grants for international competitions; and our Dual Career Programme offers a package of support for balancing studies and sport.

Tom adds:

“Knowing that support network is there, all the services that the University offers, gave me a great deal of confidence and allowed me to focus purely on becoming the best performer I can be.”

The triumphs at Tokyo didn’t stop there for our sports scholars. Swimmers Anna Hopkin (Thompson Educational Trust Scholar) and Calum Jarvis (ITC Scholar) also won Olympic gold, as did modern pentathlete Joe Choong (Ivor Powell Scholar).

Our sports scholars work so hard to represent their country on the greatest stage of all. Thank you for being among their biggest supporters.

"There are very, very few universities with such great facilities"

Tom explains why Bath is an inspirational place to study and train.

Gold rush

Sporting scholars on the podium.

Our sports scholars have brought home 13 medals in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games from 2012 to 2021.

Our sports scholars have brought home 13 medals in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games from 2012 to 2021.

A day in the life of swimmer Tom Dean

Dive into the Olympian's daily schedule.

Tom Dean holding up his two Olympic Gold medals. Photo credit: Ali Durden.

Breakfast: Porridge with fruit and nuts

8:00-10:00: Aerobic set in the Sports Training Village’s 50m pool, swimming between 6-7,500m

10:30-12:00: Gym session

Refuel in the STV café: Full English breakfast

Lunch at home: Chilli con carne with rice and a banana

14:30-15:00: Core session, stretching and mobilisation

15:00-17:00: Back in the pool for a 6-6,500m training session

Snack: Protein bar

Dinner at home

Late snack: Yoghurt with granola, fruit, peanut butter and honey

Total: 7,000 calories per day and approx. 14,000 metres swum

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