Saturday, April 05, 2014

Murdoch out guns Jamieson in classic final

Craig McNally, "At least tonight I can sleep well knowing I’ve got the time.”

There was much anticipation amongst the large crowd at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow ahead of the men’s 100m breaststroke final on the penultimate day of the Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championships

Headlining the race were Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson who are establishing a great rivalry and this was evident, with both athletes coming onto the block with a steely determination showing on their faces. 

It was Murdoch who made the better start and powered his way down the first 50m although Jamieson was never far behind. With the crowd roaring all the finalists on, it was Murdoch who came through to take the touch in 59.75, not only a qualification time for Team Scotland consideration, but a new Scottish Record.

Jamieson’s time of 1:00.82 was also within the Team Scotland criteria, but third placed Craig Benson (Warrender) agonisingly missed out, posting a time of 1:01.58 just 0.01sec outside the time required.

Craig McNally timed his 200m backstroke final to perfection, not only taking the title, but making the all-important consideration time. Having just missed out in last night’s 100m final, the 21 year old was focussed and came home in 1:58.87.  The smile on his face was clear and he said:

“What a relief. I knew it was a decent time because I’m cramping up right now and that tends to happen to me when I’ve swum a good race. I’ll be fine for tomorrow’s 50m but it is taking longer to recover. At least tonight I can sleep well knowing I’ve got the time.”

McNally made headlines last summer at the World Championships in Barcelona when he was the fastest Commonwealth swimmer in the final and said of his experience:

“I think with that performance there are added expectations which could lead to some pressure on me to do well in the summer, but I relish that, I like pressure and the extra nerves that pressure gives me, which is ultimately what drives me to do better and post fast times.”

University of Stirling’s Ryan Bennett finished 2nd but was disappointed not to have posted a time but will go into next week’s British Championships determined to seal his place.

The sprinters were also in the mood for Team Scotland consideration times. First off was Richard Schafers (Edinburgh University) who not only broke his own Scottish record, but his time of 22.47 was well within the qualification standard needed for Glasgow. This was quickly followed by Sian Harkin (University of Stirling) who sealed her second nomination of the meet following her victory in the 50m butterfly with a time of 26.92 and both athletes were in buoyant mood.

Schafers said: “I’m pleased although if I’m being honest I would have liked to have gone faster. I felt relaxed which is what I need to do to race well. I’ve had a rough couple of years, and this may sound strange, but I think I was taking things too seriously, which had a detrimental effect on my performance.

“I’ve changed my approach now, I’m much more chilled about everything and I’m enjoying some good results.”

Harkin had hoped to post a time during the morning heats but fell short by 0.01sec. Explaining her approach to the final she said:

“I didn’t sleep well last night. The reality of me making a Team Scotland nomination time hit me and all of a sudden I started thinking about the Athlete Village, what it would be like, so really struggled to sleep.

“After this morning’s heat I spoke to Ben (Higson, coach of University of Stirling) and watched an analysis of my race so knew what was missing. The margin of error in a 50m race is so small so every bit of information is important to help make the difference. I’m feeling happy right now.”

Dan Wallace (Warrender Baths Club) won the Mens 200m IM posting a time of 1:59.95 to set his second Team Scotland nomination time. 

In other finals Hannah Miley (Garioch) won both the 400m free and 200m breast finals, while Stephen Milne’s domination of long distance events continued with victory in the 800m free. Kathleen Dawson won the 100m back title but none of the times met the Team Scotland selection standard.

The Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championship take place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre between 3rd and 6th April 2014.

All of the interviews and shows will be available free of charge from Scottish Swimming's official soundcloud channel at htps:// , with content uploaded throughout the final session each day. The nightly round up show will be available from 9pm each night.

Photos from the event will be available on Flickr:

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