The mother of double Olympic gold medallist Tom Dean celebrated her son’s success in Tokyo by hopping in the River Thames for a 2k swim.
Jacquie Hughes – who shares her son’s love of the water – watched from home in the early hours of Wednesday as the 21-year-old picked up his second gold medal of the Games in the 4x200m freestyle relay alongside teammates James Guy, 25, Matthew Richards, 18, and Duncan Scott, 24.
It came just 24 hours after Dean claimed an impressive win in the 200m freestyle – sparking scenes of elation in the family’s garden in Maidenhead, Berkshire.
I was so wired and realised I had been sat down the whole day and I just needed re-energising, so when it was over, I just popped my goggles and costume on, hopped in the Thames and swam 2kJacquie Hughes
Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Hughes said: “We had a watch party for his individual event on Monday and Tuesday morning and, obviously, it went ballistic with him winning. I just didn’t go to bed.
“When the GB relay team qualified for the final, we decided to do it all again, so we set up a watch party in the early hours of this morning and we had probably 75 people in the garden to watch the men’s relay.
“I was so wired and realised I had been sat down the whole day and I just needed re-energising, so, when it was over, I just popped my goggles and costume on, hopped in the Thames and swam 2k.”
Ms Hughes said the pride she feels for her son goes beyond his victories.
“I’ve always said to the kids, what I feel about you and the pride I feel about you is never about an individual success such as winning a race because those are fleeting,” she said.
“It is about who you are as a person – how you treat others, how you conduct yourself, having integrity and dignity. Those are the things that matter to me and those are the things that give me pride in him.”
We have a battered old Toyota and we were just talking about whether we should paint it gold and rock up to Heathrow in a gold van and put on a bit of a show in the airportJacquie Hughes
She added that she has toyed with some ideas for possible celebrations for when her son returns to the UK.
“We have a battered old Toyota and we were just talking about whether we should paint it gold and rock up to Heathrow in a gold van and put on a bit of a show in the airport,” she said.
“People feel a great sense of pride and a bit of ownership over him because he’s a local boy. We were talking of making the road into a homecoming road.”
Neighbours have also talked about painting the Olympic rings on the road and putting bunting out, she said.
There will also be a smorgasbord of food for the champion.
“(Tom’s) favourite meal would be a huge spread of everything, liked baked harissa salmon, some lamb with rosemary, roast potatoes and lots of roasted squashes and green vegetables,” she said.
She added: “He’s going to be blown away by the reaction he has provoked in people.”