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Olympic swimmer Dearing reveals how esports helps her mental game

For Olympic marathon swimmer Alice Dearing, gaming is a way to escape from her busy and sometimes stressful life. The 2016 World Junior Champion in the 10k open water event spoke about her love of gaming at the Commonwealth Esports Forum in Birmingham

"It’s part of my daily routine,” said Dearing, 25. “I never game in the middle of the day between sessions, but when I get home I cook dinner as quick as I can, I eat it as quick as I can, and sit down and play a game.”

“I love gaming to escape from the stress of having to swim and managing my life around it. I can just relax and don’t have to think. It helps me to escape from being myself for a bit.”

After finishing 19th in the Women’s 10k open water swimming at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Dearing took a break from sport recently. “I’m getting back into the water in September and am looking to hopefully qualify for Paris 2024,” she said. “In Tokyo, I didn’t compete as well as I wanted to. I wasn’t very happy about it. I want to right my wrongs and have a great Games in Paris.”

Aiming for her second Olympics, she will continue gaming alongside her training. “I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember. My mum always gamed and my brother did too. They got me into it and I simply love it.”

“I discovered esports when I was about 11. It was my brother who said ‘you know that people play League of Legends competitively?’ I remember I was like ‘you’re joking, this is a video game, this doesn’t seem to be right.’”

Dearing quickly went online to check out what her brother had told her. “I found out about the European League of Legends Championship Series at the time, and I was taken by it. I am a fanatic fan.”

Everyone can be a gamer

“I never played competitively myself because I didn’t want to,” she added. “I feel like I don’t have those skills, but I absolutely love that gaming can be competitive. The opportunities it brings gamers and people from around the world to connect with each other and compete against each other to achieve something is quite great.”

“Sometimes people say ‘oh, I’m not really a gamer.’ But I do think there is always a game out there for you somewhere. Whether it’s Candy Crush, FarmVille, or CS:GO. I think there’s a gamer in everybody, you just need to find a game to bring it out.”

Seeing the stage at the Commonwealth Esports Championships makes her excited, although she is still not looking to pursue a career in gaming herself. “It’s definitely something I daydreamed about when I was younger,” she said.

“ If I was skilled enough, I would definitely love to, but I don’t think it’s for me. I am happy to accept that. I kind of like the fact that I haven’t made it competitively, because obviously, my swimming career is very competitive already.”

“Gaming is just a little side of me that is very uncompetitive or not really competitive by choice because I’m so bad at it.”

She loves the fact that esports becomes more and more common in the world of sports, too.

“There are so many similarities between esports and sport, like swimming. They both have very demanding schedules. You have to look after your body and mind for that like all athletes have to do. The only difference at the moment is the platform and the stage they play on. ”


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