Daniel Jervis is heading back to the Olympics!

The Welshman dominated the 1,500-meter freestyle Thursday at the British trials, leading the race from start to finish. While qualifying for the Olympics is always an accomplishment, the feat is especially sweet for Jervis.

Since Tokyo 2020, he’s overcome an array of mental health issues, along with being three years older.

“If I am honest, that was so much harder to get to than the Tokyo Olympics,” he said, via Swimming World Magazine. “I’m three years older. It was hard three years ago but this year…I’ve really found training hard this last few years. Since Tokyo I’ve struggled with it, it’s been a mental battle as much as a physical battle.”

Around this time last year, Jervis was recovering from a mental health crisis, which caused him to withdraw from the 2022 Commonwealth Games. A two-time Commonwealth Games medalist, Jervis wasn’t sure whether he would compete again.

“I really struggled with my mental health,” he told Attitude. “Ever since I was a kid, that’s all I wanted. To have that boyhood dream snatched away from me so quickly, for something that I could not control, was heartbreaking. I questioned a lot of things.”

After some down time, the 27-year-old decided to resume his career, and we’re thankful for it. Last summer, he made his return at the World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Jervis finished 14th in the 1,500-meter freestyle, and 23rd in the 800-meter freestyle, respectively.

The adversity he’s faced make him appreciate the good times even more.

“I’m not a young swimmer any more and training sessions hurt now! I get out of bed and I moan!,” he said Thursday. “That meant so much to me that did.”

While this will be Jervis’ second Olympics, it will be the first time he competes as an out gay man. He made the decision to come out during the 2020 lockdowns, before making his big announcement in June 2022.

“I thought, ‘I can’t live this life pretending to be someone I’m not,” he said to Attitude. “I knew I wasn’t going to change. I was still going to be exactly the same Dan. I couldn’t keep hiding this thing about me. I needed to tell someone.”

The timing of Jervis’ announcement was significant as well. He came out just before the Commonwealth Games.

Homosexuality is still illegal in 36 participating countries.

“Now is a good time for me because the Commonwealth Games is in a month’s time, and there’s going to be a lot of people watching that, and there’s so many countries in the Commonwealth where being gay is illegal,” he said, via the Sydney Morning Herald. “And for me to be [visible] on that stage and to inspire people is what I’m here to do.”

In a conversation last Pride Month with another out Scottish Olympian, curling medalist Bruce Mouat, Jervis said it was empowering to reveal his truth.

“I try to tell people who are in that moment or are just about to come out or have come out already, that it’s such an amazing experience,” he said. “I completely understand that we’re in a very privileged position in that we’ve been accepted and that some people don’t have that, but that moment when it’s out there and the weight has been lifted off your shoulders, you can’t quite describe it.”

It’s been 10 years since Jervis splashed onto the international stage, securing bronze in the 1,500-meter at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, when he was just 17 years old. He won silver four years later.

In addition, he’s appeared in three World Championships, and finished in the 1,500-meter freestyle at Tokyo 2020, where at least 16 out athletes competed for Great Britain.

With the weight of secrecy now fully lifted off of his shoulders, we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes in Paris.

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