Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Enticing Prospects for Scotland on Opening Day of Swimming

With the likes of Hannah Miley, Michael Jamieson and Robbie Renwick all competing on day one of the swimming competition, it won’t come as a huge surprise that the eyes of a Nation will be on Tollcross International Swimming Centre from tomorrow.

Team Scotland’s poster boy, Glasgow born Michael Jamieson, is the odds-on favourite to win gold in the 200m breaststroke. The silver medallist from both the London Olympics and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi appears to be taking all the attention and pressure in his stride.  Seeing him in training this morning, he looked relaxed and happy, yet extremely focused on the job in hand. As he said earlier in the week, “It took a world record to beat me in London. I had to PB then and I expect to have to make a PB here.”

He will be joined on the starting blocks by Ross Murdoch and Calum Tait. Murdoch has an exceptionally busy schedule, swimming every day of the competition, while this is Tait’s moment in the spotlight.

Defending Champion Hannah Miley will look to regain the Commonwealth crown in the 400m IM that she won in Delhi back in 2010 and is currently number 3 in the world. It wasn’t an easy task then and it won’t be any easier this time round with her main competition coming from Aimee Willmott of England who is currently ranked number five in the world.

Robbie Renwick, Dan Wallace and Stephen Milne all feature in heat three of the men’s 400m freestyle. While Renwick freely admits to his preferred event being the 200m freestyle, he will be keen to use this race to shake off any nerves before Friday’s 200m race. It’s the same for Wallace and Milne, whose main events, the 400m IM and 1500m freestyle respectively come later on in the meet.

Scotland’s golden girl from Melbourne, Caitlin McClatchey, competing in her third consecutive Games for Scotland, contests the 200m freestyle. This was the first of the two gold medals she won back Melbourne in 2006, upsetting the form book and beating home favourite Libby Trickett, who was hotly tipped for seven gold medals. McClatchey’s winning time of 1:57.25 remains the Games record.

Club training partners Andrea Strachan, Corrie Scott and Kathryn Johnstone will all look to progress to the semi-finals of the 50m breaststroke. Scott is the fastest of the three on paper setting the current Scottish record time of 31.38 at Tollcross during the Trials back in April.

In the 100m backstroke, Craig McNally and Ryan Bennett will feature for Scotland. McNally is better known for the 200m backstroke, but says he will use this to help his speed work and to get rid of any pre-race jitters.  Bennett was a finalist in this event back in Delhi for Team England, but will proudly don the Scottish kit in Glasgow.

The Swimming competition starts on Thursday 24 July and continues until Tuesday 29July, before the Aquatics Diving programme begins on Wednesday 30 July at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

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