Thursday, July 24, 2014

Real Medal Prospects for Scotland after Day 1 Heats

Scottish swimmers came out in determined mood for the start of the swimming competition of the XX Commonwealth Games at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

Hannah Miley started proceedings by easing into the final of the 400m IM and in doing so broke her own Games record that she set on the way to victory in Delhi. The 24-year old looked comfortable as she went through all the stages of her race, easing through the field and taking the lead during the breaststroke leg.

Emily Overholt (CAN) was ever present, but Miley looked strong over the last 50m and touched home in 4:38.27, over half a second inside the Games record of 4.38.83). Smiling and waving to a patriotic and appreciative crowd Miley looks happy and relaxed ahead of tonight’s final.

There she will be joined by Aimee Willmott (ENG) seen by many as Miley’s main threat for the title. Willmott won her heat in 4:39.50.

There was more cheering in the next event, the men’s 400m freestyle, where all three Scots, Stephen Milne, Robbie Renwick and Dan Wallace were drawn in the same heat.

James Guy (ENG) took the early lead but Stephen Milne was never far off the pace. Considered more of a distance specialist Milne took over the leader’s mantle at the 150m mark, much to the delight of the crowd.  The crowd grew louder as local hero Robbie Renwick and Dan Wallace also moved through the field, resulting with a Scottish 1-2-3.

Milne’s time of 3:46.88 was a 4½ second PB and only 0.15 off Renwick’s Scottish record. Wallace finished 2nd in 3:46.96, while Renwick was 3rd in 3:47.19. All three will feature in tonight’s final.

There’s been a lot of media attention about the 200m breaststroke, and in particular on Michael Jamieson. With Jamieson, Ross Murdoch and Calum Tait all drawn in the same heat, this was a hotly anticipated event. 

All three Scottish swimmers were neck and neck up to 150m when it was Murdoch who started to break away, smashing the Games record which had only just been broken in the previous heat by England’s Andrew Willis.

Murdoch touched home in 2:08.78, with Jamieson having to settle for 2nd in 2:10.17. Tait also swam the race of his life to complete the Scottish 1-2-3, finishing in 2:10.33. They will be the three fastest qualifiers for tonight’s final and it’s going to be a tough race to call.

Corrie Scott, Kathryn Johnstone and Andrea Strachan are all safely through to tonight’s 50m breaststroke semi-finals. Scott’s heat time of 30.64 smashed her own Scottish record of 31.38 that she set back in April at the Trials and this puts her 3rd fastest overall at this stage.

Johnstone finished in 31.38 and Strachan in 31.90 placing them in 8th and 11th places respectively doing into the semi-finals.

Craig McNally and Ryan Bennett will also feature again tonight, having progressed through to the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly. McNally finished in 55.28 and Bennett in 55.35, placing them 9th and 10th respectively.

Caitlin McClatchey finished just outside the qualifiers for the 200m freestyle. Her time of 1:59.04 put her in 9th place after the heats.

The final event of the session was the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay. The Scottish quartet of Rachel Masson, Sian Harkin, Lucy Hope and Rachael O’Donnell qualified for tonight’s final with a time of 3:45.79.

Coverage of the finals starts at 7pm.

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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