Friday, April 21, 2017

Murdoch reclaims his 200m crown

"I don’t just have aspirations for the Gold Coast, I want to make the team for Tokyo. It’s another four year cycle but I’ve fully committed to it." Ross Murdoch

Ross Murdoch put the disappointment of 2016 well and truly behind him, winning the 200m breaststroke final and posting consideration times for the FINA World Championships in Budapest in July and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Murdoch (University of Stirling) was fastest qualifier for the final and lined up against 2016 Olympians for the event, Andrew Willis (Bath University) and Stirling team-mate Craig Benson. Murdoch took charge of the field at the half way mark and with 50m to go began to extend his lead, touching home in 2:09.15. With a superb final 50m James Wilby (Loughborough University) came through to take silver in 2:10.01, while Willis won bronze in 2:10.52.

Following the race Murdoch commented,

“I’d love to say that was job done. I’ve now posted two consideration times for both the World and the Commonwealth Games so I’m hoping that’s me on the team.

“I know I’m not in the shape to do a PB but I knew if I could control the race and lead at the half way mark, I could make my mark.  I was actually pretty nervous coming into this event.  I’ve been third the last couple of years and I was very aware that Craig (Benson) and Andrew (Willis) are in great shape.”

Speaking about the past 12 months, Murdoch continued,

“Last year was difficult. Looking back I did win this event at the European Championships in London in the middle of year but I did that out of pure anger, anger at myself and how badly I did at the Trials. I had put in so much work and I just didn’t perform. I think that really affected me and held me back for the rest of the season.”

Speaking about the rest of the 2016 season Murdoch said,

“I took quite a bit of time off after Rio. Growing up the Olympics is hyped up to be this massive event and it was an absolute dream to make the team. But then you underperform and you come away thinking that after 4 years of hard graft you’ve got absolutely nothing to show for it. I was pretty broken by that.

“I took seven weeks off as I needed to make sure my head was in the right place. I don’t just have aspirations for the Gold Coast, I want to make the team for Tokyo. It’s another four year cycle but I’ve committed to it. But for now it’s about the World Championships and I’ve got 14 weeks to sharpen up and be in the best shape possible.”

Craig Benson (University of Stirling) and Calum Tait (Edinburgh University) finished in 2:10.56 (4th) and 2:11.95 (5th) respectively.

In the junior final of the 200m breaststroke George Clough (Warrender Baths Club) stormed to victory posting a superb 2:15.96 for the event, well inside the Commonwealth Youth Games consideration time. He said,

“I was within around 0.1 of the time at SNAGS, but to go 2:15 here is really exciting. I’m so pleased. I had hoped to make the time in Aberdeen to take the pressure off, but having done it earlier in this morning’s heats meant I could just go into the final, enjoy the race and see what I could do.

“This would be the first international selection of the career and I’m really hoping my place on Youth Team Scotland will be confirmed.”

Duncan Scott (University of Stirling) returned to the podium again, winning bronze in the 100m fly in with a PB of 52.91. Sean Campsie (City of Glasgow) was 5th in 53.36, while Cameron Brodie (University of Stirling) was 6th in 53.83.

Kathleen Dawson (University of Stirling) finished 4th in the 200m back final in 2:10.89 while Aberdeen Performance swimmer, Kirsty Simpson, finished 8th in 2:16.35.

Lucy Hope (Edinburgh University posted 55.20 in the 100m free final to finish 5th.

In other events Lexie Waller (Hearts) smashed the Scottish Junior Record in the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:12.55, while Gulsum Onal (Swim West Lothian) broke the Scottish National Age Group Record (18yrs) on her way to victory in the Target Tokyo 100m free final with a time of 55.82.

Full results from the Championships can be found here