Tom Dean's 'crazy' Tokyo triumph is crystallising old friend Charlotte Rigg’s buoyant Olympic dream.

Solihull swimming star Rigg, 19, competed alongside Dean at the 2018 European Junior Championships in Helsinki as she reached the semi-final in her 200m breaststroke event.

Freestyle flyer Dean, 21, smashed the European junior record in the 200m individual medley in the Finnish water and since motored on to cap an unforgettable 200m gold in the Tokyo pool this summer. 

Rigg woke up in the middle of the night to watch Dean capture hearts and says the sight of him taking the Games by storm can propel her to the next level.

Rigg, who represents City of Birmingham Swim Club, said: “It’s crazy to think Tom has been on the same journey as me and now he’s gone on to win an Olympic gold medal.

“It was an incredible race and I certainly felt a bit emotional watching it – it’s the fact that these people have been on the same journey as me in the same British junior team.

“I think that’s the most inspirational thing for me. Seeing them in the Olympics now is just incredible.

“I watched the swimming in Tokyo most nights, waking up at 2:30am – it was fab.

“My dream definitely feels a lot more real, seeing people like Tom doing what he’s doing on the Olympic stage.

“It would be pretty special to follow in their footsteps – it would make all the sacrifices over the years and being an athlete all worth it.”

Rigg’s career in the water is powered by an innovative three-year partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and leading sports charity SportsAid.

She’s now set to embark on an exciting new chapter at Virginia Tech University in the USA after proudly flying the City of Birmingham Swim Club flag for since taking to the pool aged 10.

Rigg used a gap year to focus on her swimming and loved watching Team GB stars Dean, Adam Peaty and Duncan Scott catapult the sport into the national spotlight in Tokyo.

The British team’s eight medal haul was a national record and Rigg, who also starred at the 2019 Junior World Championships in Budapest, added: “I love the Olympics in general and I watched all the sports – I always have and always will.

“The swimming was just absolutely incredible – GB’s team have been amazing.

“It’s just so great to see people really step up at the Olympics – for four years British swimmers have grown better and better and that was so nice to see that as the focus for a change, British swimming on top of podiums.

“Watching them inspires me and my generation to continue that on.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more.