Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sensational Silvers for Miley and Murdoch

Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch again secured medals for Team Scotland on the opening night of the swimming competition of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

In front of a near capacity crowd at the Optus Aquatics Centre, Miley (University of Aberdeen Performance Swim Team) lined up alongside long-time rival Aimee Wilmott (University of Stirling) in the 400m IM final and the pair produced a thrilling final, with the lead changing hands several times over the course of the race.

Sitting comfortably on the shoulders of her rivals, Miley showed her strength in the breaststroke and held the lead with 100m to go.  Wilmott was never far away and with 25m to go kicked hard to take the touch in 4:34.90. Miley won silver in 4:35.16, while Blair Evans (AUS) picked up bronze in 4:38.23.  

A delighted Miley said after the race,

“I can’t be disappointed with that swim. There was expectation and pressure for me to come and have that gold and I was always worried that if I didn’t achieve it I would be seen as a disappointment.

“I was very firm in saying that it wasn’t about the medals for me.  At the age of 28 there’s no-one in the Commonwealth still swimming the 400m medley and to be on the podium for the third time after 12 years of racing, it’s kind of nice to know that I’m still a contender and still up there trying to be the best in the Commonwealth and the best that I can possibly be. I’m very proud of it, I can’t ask for more than that. Aimee gave me one heck of a race and I commend her efforts.

“I can honestly say there was nothing left in the bowl and I’m so glad to say that I’ve come away with a medal. It’s my fourth Games and to be on the podium for the third time is amazing.”

Ross Murdoch (University of Stirling) also left with silverware in a hard fought 200m breaststroke final. Murdoch led going into the final turn but England’s James Wilby produced an outstanding final 50m to touch out Murdoch and take gold. Wilby won in 2:08.05 while Murdoch came home in 2:08.32 for silver.  Matt Wilson (AUS) won bronze in 2:08.64.

Murdoch said of his medal:

“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed not to have got the gold tonight and heard Flower of Scotland sung to me one more time.  I would have loved to have backed up what I did in Glasgow and I did feel a strong sense of pride and honour going out there tonight.

“After Rio there was talk of me walking away from the sport, but I’ve definitely made the right choice sticking with it. That’s the fastest I’ve ever been at this time of the year by around 0.6 and that bodes well for Glasgow and the European Championships later this year.

“It was a really close final and I’m just delighted to contribute to Team Scotland’s medal tally and their target of making this the best overseas Games.”

Scottish athletes Craig Benson (University of Stirling) and Calum Tait (Edinburgh University) finished 6th and 7th respectively.

In other events it was an eighth place finish for Stephen Milne (Perth City Swim Club) in the 400m freestyle and Lucy Hope (Edinburgh University) in the 200m freestyle, while Sean Campsie (City of Glasgow Swim Team) and Scott McLay (University of Stirling) finished 12th and 13th respectively for the 50m butterfly.

Keanna MacInnes (Heart of Midlothian) showed promise on her Team Scotland debut with back to back PBs in the 100m butterfly. The 16 year old finished 11th overall for the event giving her confidence ahead of her preferred 200m butterfly event on Monday.

Corrie Scott (Edinburgh University) finished 9th after the semi-finals of the 50m breaststroke and is first reserve for tomorrow’s final, while Craig McNally (City of Glasgow Swim Team) finished 10th overall for 100m backstroke and also on reserve for tomorrow’s final.

Friday will see double Olympic silver medallist Duncan Scott (University of Stirling) start his Commonwealth Games campaign in the 200m freestyle. He’ll be joined by team-mates Craig McLean (University of Stirling) and Stephen Milne. The breaststroke trio of Murdoch, Benson and Tait return to the pool in the 100m event, while Lucy Hope also returns to the action in the heats of the 50m freestyle.

Mark Szaranek (Edinburgh University), fresh from the NCAAs in the US with the Florida Gators, makes his Team Scotland debut in the 400m IM. Elsewhere, the youngest member of Team Scotland, Toni Shaw (University of Aberdeen Performance Swim Team) also makes her Games debut in the S9 100m backstroke.

Kathleen Dawson (University of Stirling) and Cassie Wild (Ellesmere Titans) will contest the heats of the 100m backstroke while Scotland are also involved in the 4x100m freestyle (men).