After enjoying the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games yet at Tokyo 2020, student and alumni athletes are working hard towards achieving their dreams at Paris 2024.
With less than a year to go until the games begin, we’ve reviewed some of Team Bath’s recent sporting victories to see which students and alumni are planning for podium places at Paris.
The moment of becoming World Champions👑🌎
What a final leg (and celebration🤩) from @tomdean00 🔥🔥🔥
— British Swimming (@britishswimming) July 28, 2023
Members of the British Swimming Performance Centre Bath, who train in the London 2012 Legacy Pool at the University, have brought home 13 medals from the last three Olympic Games – including an astounding seven gold at Tokyo 2020.
Two of them went to Bill Whiteley Sporting Scholar and mechanical engineering student Tom Dean MBE, who recently added to his international medal collection with a gold, silver and bronze at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in July.
Tom secured the gold for Britain with a scorching last leg of 1:43.84 in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay to go alongside his individual 200m freestyle silver – finishing just two-hundredths of a second from gold – and 200m individual medley bronze.
Tom told Team Bath: “It bodes well for the relay and really bodes well for the Paris Olympics next year. I am buzzing right now.”
Fellow Bill Whiteley Sporting Scholar Kate Shortman, who studies international management and modern languages (French) at the University, is also going into the Olympic year off the back of a World Championships medal.
Her Women’s Solo Free bronze in Fukuoka was Britain’s first-ever artistic swimming World Championships medal and she told World Aquatics: “Now we’ve finally done it on the world stage, I hope that people can see that artistic swimming in Great Britain is coming up and coming through… we’re going to the Olympics next year and we want a medal in that too.”
“WE’VE FINALLY DONE IT ON THE BIGGEST STAGE,” says Kate Shortman after her historic World 🥉
“Artistic swimming in 🇬🇧 is coming up, we’re coming through. We need some funding because we’re going for the Olympics & WE WANT A MEDAL IN THAT TOO!”
— Nick Hope - the athlete’s journalist (@NickHopeTV) July 19, 2023
This followed another historic win for Kate, who also won a Women’s Duet bronze at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games in Poland with artistic swimming partner Izzy Thorpe. The podium placing was the first continental medal for 30 years by a British pairing in the Duet. Kate confirmed her hopes for a place in Paris 2024 to Team Bath: “Next, we want that Olympic medal and we’re going to fight for it and absolutely train our socks off to try and get there. We’ve got a taste of it today and I can tell that we’re both so motivated.”
Also making a Team GB appearance at the Fukuoka World Championships were recent graduate and Goldsmith scholar Daniella Lloyd and current student Robyn Swatman. The sport performance duo teamed up for tenth place in their chess-themed Team Free final for Artistic Swimming.
Moving from the pool to the dojo, several judokas at Bath have set their sights on Paris 2024 after recent wins. Former Santander scholar and sports performance alumna Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz won the first Grand Slam medal of her judo career by claiming a silver in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Tokyo Olympian, who represents Mexico, was in fantastic form in the -63kg weight division as she won her podium place by defeating her opponent in just over 90 seconds. Prisca said of her win in an Instagram post: “This has only made me hungry for more! I can’t wait to keep making dreams a reality!”
Another Team Bath judoka to medal recently was George Kroussaniotakis, who won gold at the Tallin European Open in Estonia. George, a recent sport and exercise science graduate, beat Ukraine’s Anton Savytskiy – ranked 39 in the world – in the semi-finals of the men’s -100kg weight division.
Though George didn’t go on to place at the 2023 World University Games in Chengdu, it’s thought that the Bath alumni is still in training for a place in Paris 2024.
Rounding out the Paris 2024 judo hopefuls is sports and exercise science alumna Gemma Howell, who won a silver medal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in the women’s -63kg.
Two athletes have already achieved Olympic quota places for Team GB in modern pentathlon – reigning men’s champion Joe Choong MBE and fellow Bath graduate Olivia Green. “I can’t believe the Olympics are so close,” said Green, who secured her place by winning women’s individual bronze for Team GB at the 2023 European Games in Poland last month.
The sports and exercise alumni told Team Bath: “It feels like the Tokyo Games were really recent but now we’re just a year away from Paris. The Olympics are the big goal for all of us and I am determined to be part of the team next summer.”
There will be another opportunity for Pentathlon GB athletes to secure second quota spots for Team GB in both the men’s and women’s competitions when the UIPM Modern Pentathlon World Championships are staged at the University of Bath during August.
Architecture student and Santander scholar Aleeya Sibbons recently secured gold for Great Britain & Northern Ireland in the women’s 4x100m relay at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland. The University’s high-performance athletics squad member took the baton in the lead and finished with a flourish as GB claimed the continental title in a new Championship record of 43.04.
King Sporting Scholar and sports performance alumnus Alastair Chalmers is also expected to try and secure a Paris 2024 place after making athletics history for Guernsey with a 400m hurdles bronze at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Guernsey’s first-ever track and field medal at a Commonwealth Games. Alastair told BBC Guernsey: “I gritted so hard down the home straight; the crowd were absolutely amazing. I heard them in the back of my head, and I was like ‘you’ve just got to go for it’.
Commonwealth teammate and economics student Abi Galpin also looks to be a Paris hopeful, having recently won three golds and a silver while representing the host nation in the Guernsey 2023 Island Games.