She and her brother took swimming lessons together and she said watching competitions is a family activity.
“We would record them, revisit them, like, it was like a proper family thing for me, my mom and one of my brothers,” she said.
Fast forward a few years and Diding himself successfully completed those competitions and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Although she came in at 19th, her participation is still historic as the first black swimmer for Team England.
Diding also co-founded the Black Swimming Association, which aims to encourage and diversify UK swimmers. Dears said she wants to return to the sport because it has brought her so many good things in life.
“I want other people to know that those opportunities are there for them, and not to get caught up in something because of their race or because society thinks that’s what they should be doing,” Diding said.
Fear has also become a role model for many. She said it wasn’t what she thought she could be and said it was weird. “It was like, I’m just a girl from Birmingham, a girl from the Midlands in England,” she said. “So it was something a little crazy. You never really thought you were in that position to help influence or help inspire or change someone’s life in such a positive direction.”
Although Diding is one of the few internationally known black swimmers, she says that in the swimming community, she hasn’t always been the only non-white swimmer. Best.
As she got older, she began to hear people whispering that Negroes couldn’t swim and people were surprised to learn she did.
“We always laugh because my mother, my mother is Ghanaian, she grew up swimming and it was part of her lifestyle,” Diding said. “This is not just a joke like this but it really affects people’s lives and affects the choices they make on a daily basis. That’s why I’m so passionate about it.”
She said that although she was not satisfied with her Olympic performance, she received messages of support.
“Literally everyone else is like, well done getting there in the first place, well done standing up and treating these conversations as part of something bigger than yourself and supporting the change,” she said.