Thursday, March 16, 2017

Duncan Scott Looking to Build on Strongest of Senior Starts

“The journey from junior to senior swimming is very tough and I am quite fortunate in the way I’ve done it. In 2014 I managed to qualify for Commonwealth Games. I think that helped with confidence and in helping me to try to focus on the World Championships" - Duncan Scott

For some swimmers the transition from successful junior to successful senior can be a perilous one. But not for Duncan Scott for whom the term ‘coming a long way in a short space of time' could have been coined.

Scott, who turns 20 in May, forged a highly-successful junior career and was part of the Scotland 4x200m freestyle squad that won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The following year he won three gold and three silver medals at the European Games in Baku and weeks later found himself at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, where he claimed a gold and world title with the Great Britain 4x200m Freestyle squad.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Scott claimed a further two silvers as an integral part of the 4x200m squad as well as bringing home the 4x100m medley relay in the final event of the Games.

Scott also became the first British man since 1968 to reach the Olympic 100m freestyle final where he finished fifth in a new national record of 48.01secs.

His has been an upward trajectory that shows no signs of slowing but for Scott it has been a series of building blocks, put in place by his coach Steven Tigg at the University of Stirling, that have brought him to where he is today.

“Looking at it from my own and my coach’s perspective, the ideology that we’ve got and the processes that we have gone through in the last couple of years, I don’t feel like my transition has been a rush,” he said.

“The journey from junior to senior swimming is very tough and I am quite fortunate in the way I’ve done it. In 2014 I managed to qualify for Commonwealth Games. I think that helped with confidence and in helping me to try to focus on the World Championships.

“It’s been fast but it’s been part of our vision and plan. We’ve been targeting these meets so it’s been realistic.”

Scott puts much at the door of Tigg and the faith his coach shows in the swimmer.

“I definitely didn’t think I would make the World Championships at the start of that 2015 season and I didn’t think I would make Rio but my coach is very down to earth and he definitely knows and believes in what I can achieve. He has a lot of belief in my ability.

“He never really gets too carried away with anything so he says things to me like ‘oh I think you can qualify for this’ and ‘we should maybe target these events or look at these as a possible event to take on in the future’.

“When he says that it reassures me and makes me believe that I can then do that. It’s a good way to start the season – believing and having faith in myself and what we’re doing.”

Rio passed by in a flash for Scott and in hindsight he is grateful for that as it would have been easy to get distracted after the 4x200m silver medal.

“At the time it was so strange,” he said. “I didn’t really have any time to think about it, everything was just going so fast, and I was constantly thinking about my schedule, when I would be swimming and the next race I’d have - the next time to prepare, the next warm-up.

“I never really had time to reflect and look at what I’d done which I think worked in my favour a lot so I never really got carried away because I think I would have got carried away by the 4x200m silver.

“One thing kept moving to another and I just enjoyed every minute of it, I loved it. I didn’t get to see many of the races but it did mean I got the results which I am delighted with.”

Life outside the pool has changed little for Scott, who is studying Business and Sports Studies, although his success has made him a target in the water.

“I am still a student at University of Stirling. Day-in, day-out life is exactly the same. I still live in a cold flat, still in Scotland. Nothing drastic has changed. Now it’s just the start of another four-year cycle.

“The only thing that has changed is now people want to beat me rather than not really looking at me, now people are seeking to beat me. I am not so bothered by it, that’s the way swimming is, the way sport is. 

Next up are the British Championships which double as the selection event for this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.

Scott is looking to qualify for as many events as possible for Budapest and next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia but he wants to test himself both physically and mentally with such a gruelling programme. 

“The main target of doing all those targeted swims is to challenge myself - it is a high-level nationals, it’s some of the best swimmers in the world and competition will be fierce.”

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Article courtesy of British Swimming

Duncan Scott is the new Brand Ambassador for the Scottish Swimming Learn to Swim programme, in partnership with Scottish Water, helping more than 100,000 children across the country learn to swim. 

Duncan Scott: "I am delighted to be the Brand Ambassador for such an important programme as Learn to Swim, helping children to be confident, competent and safe swimmers."