Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Duncan Scott leads out Team Scotland as they return to heroes' welcome

The bagpipes played as Duncan Scott led Team Scotland through Glasgow Airport as they returned to a heroes welcome from family, friends and an excited press.

Scott became the most successful Scottish athlete at a single games and he, along with the rest of the Aquatics Team, contributed 11 medals to Team Scotland's record-breaking away games total of 44. 

Hannah Miley, Ross Murdoch and Mark Szaranek also contributed inidividual medals while Craig McLean, Dan Wallace, Jack Thorpe, Kieran McGuckin and Stephen Milne picked up relay bronze. Grace Reid took a historic gold in diving as Scotland's first ever female diving medalist, following on from an emotional bronze medal for James Heatly, which was Scotland's first diving medal in any form since his grandfather, Sir Peter Heatly, won gold in 1958.

And on top of that there were swaithes of personal bests and Scottish Records set across both the swimming and diving competitions, none more memorable than Toni Shaw who set a PB in every event she entered.

Scott was a man in demand but insisted life will go back to normal and he told the press: "The support I've always had from family and friends, and beyond that, has been amazing. Maybe a few more people in the airport recognised me but, beyond that, it's been the same.

"I've got an exam in three weeks so I'll need to get my head down for that."

Scott was chosen as the flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony and was immensley proud to have that honour. He said: "It's something only a select few people get to do, so to be chosen for that, I was delighted and it was an honour to close out Scotland's team in the best ever overseas games."

On his success in general, Scott added: "Gregor Tait used to hold the title of the most successful athlete at a single Games and he was amazing for the sport, he's helped all the swimmers that are performing now to come through.

"I've been a World Champion as part of a relay team but to be Commonwealth Champion inidividually is great."

Miley became the most decorated female 400m IM swimmer in Commonwealth Games history with her silver to follow two golds, and she now turns her focus to this summer's European Championships in Glasgow, but only after some well-earned rest: "I could go a really long nap! With the European Championships coming up it will be nice to have another home games but beyond that I'm just going to take it year by year."

Murdoch was a popular man in Glasgow after he burst on to the scene to win the 200m breaststroke, and he was as well-received as ever and spoke of how proud he was to have represented his nation. He said: "What a wonderful welcome to come back to. I'm really happy to come home with a silver medal, I wish it was a little better for Scotland but that was the best I had on the day. 

"Other than the Aussies it was the Scots who got the biggest cheers, at least that's how it felt walking out!"

Proudly sporting his bronze medal, Heatly told the press: "It's nice to be back after that long flight and to come back with this [medal] is incredible.

"I can't put it into words and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone now I'm back. My phone has just been going off so I have a lot of messages to get back to."

The swimmers and divers will get back to work soon but for many a relaxing week off is on the cards. Once again we congratulate all of the Aquatics Team on their performances in Gold Coast, and extend the same to all of Team Scotland's athletes.

The full Aquatics Team was as follows: 

Abbie Houston

Beth Johnston

Calum Tait

Camilla Hattersley

Cassie Wild

Corrie Scott

Craig Benson

Craig McLean

Craig McNally

Dan Wallace

Duncan Scott

Euan Inglis

Gemma McArthur

Grace Reid

Hannah Miley

Jack Thorpe

James Heatly

Kathleen Dawson

Keanna MacInnes

Kieran McGuckin

Lucas Thomson

Lucy Hope

Mark Campbell

Mark Szaranek

Ross Murdoch

Scott Mclay

Sean Campsie

Stephen Milne

Toni Shaw