Tokyo Olympics: Kirkcaldy's Kathleen Dawson proud to play her part

The incredible strength of the field meant Kathleen Dawson’s 100m backstroke Olympic medal hopes were always a longshot but she was simply proud to have been part of history.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 9:15 am
Kirkcaldy's Kathleen Dawson competing in Tokyo.

The Kirkcaldy-born swimmer competed hard all week at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre but eventually came home sixth in the final on Tuesday morning.

The event turned into one of the most high-quality of the Games, with the Olympic record being broken three times in the heats and again in the final, the latter by champion Kaylee McKeown.

And during an Olympics when the times in many other swimming disciplines have generally been slow, University of Stirling's Dawson took solace from competing in such a remarkable event, despite an element of frustration at not delivering her best performance on the day.

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“I can’t help but feel disappointed, especially having gone quicker in the heats and semi-finals,” said Dawson, who clocked 58.70s having swum a 58.56 in the semi-finals.

“It felt like the best race I could have put out so I can’t dwell on it too much, I just have to look forward to the relay now.

“The strength of the field is not a surprise to me, it’s just a little bit gutting – why did I have to start dropping 58s when the field is so stacked now!

“I can’t help but feel proud of being part of this history though. Four of the five fastest all-time swimmers were in that race.

“Even though I didn’t put out a time that matches the fifth fastest time in history, it’s still such a stacked event to be in.”

As Dawson intimates, her Olympics is far from over, as she is in line to compete in the women’s 4x100m medley relay and the 4x100m mixed medley relay.

The latter in particular is a legitimate medal hope for Team GB and Dawson’s strategy for the event is simple.

She said: “I’m just going to look to get as big a gap between me and the next person so that Adam [Peaty] can take over and feel pretty confident!”

Her backstroke final on Tuesday morning came just one race after Team GB made history in the men’s 200m freestyle, with Tom Dean and Duncan Scott completing the first British Olympic swimming one-two since 1908.

And Dawson was ecstatic for her teammates, as they continued a run of medal success for Team GB at Tokyo 2020 over the past couple of days.

“I managed to watch it,” she added. “It was amazing to see the boys do so well – they both deserve it so much.”

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