Friday, April 6, 2018

Swimmers add to medal tally on Day 2 of Games

It was the Aquatics' Team intention to contribute to Team Scotland’s objective to make the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games their most successful away Games, and tonight swimmers contributed three more medals to the growing tally.

Team Scotland debutante, Mark Szaranek (Edinburgh University) was impressive in the final of the 400m IM. Sticking to his race plan, Szaranek swam well in each of the legs but showed his class in the breaststroke, moving up through the field from 5th into 2nd.

At the final turn with 50m to go Szaranek started to claw back the lead of Australian Clyde Lewis, but Lewis held on for the win in 4:13.12. Szaranek’s silver came in 4:13.72, while Lewis Clareburt (NZL) won bronze in 4:14.42.

Szaranek said of his performance:

“It’s a real shame I couldn’t win but there is always next time. The 400 IM is an event I am still learning and hopefully in the future I will get it right and put together a winning performance.

“The goal was always to come in and try and win but I’m pretty happy as that is the fastest I have ever been, so I can’t really ask for much more on such a big stage. To race under these lights was amazing and this whole set up that they have here is something else.”

Elsewhere, Duncan Scott and Stephen Milne were in action in the final of the 200m freestyle. Scott was lying out of the medals with only 50m to go, but showed real strength in the closing stages to secure the bronze in a time of 1:46.30.

Kyle Chalmers (AUS) won gold in 1:45.56, while the 400m free Champion from the opening night, Mack Horton (AUS) won silver in 1:45.89. After picking up his medal, Scott said of his swim:

“I don’t go into many races believing that I can’t win. To come away not winning, I have mixed emotions. I was a lot quicker than that last summer, but this event is held a lot earlier in the year, so I should be happy with that.

“It’s my first individual medal on a big stage so that alone is a massive positive.”

Stephen Milne finished 8th in the final.

In the last final of the night, Scotland’s men made history, securing their first ever medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay. The quartet of Duncan Scott, Jack Thorpe, Kieran McGuckin and Stephen Milne all played a massive part in securing bronze with Milne bringing it home in 3:15.86, lowering the Scottish Record they set in the heats.

After the final McGuckin was first to comment, he said:

“That was the first ever 4x100m free medal for Scotland at a Commonwealth Games and it’s a pretty special moment for us all.”

Jack Thorpe spoke of the occasion and said,

“The atmosphere has been amazing. When the Australians were announced it was overwhelming and it was just a great race to be part of.”

Stephen Milne summed up the mood of the team and said:

“The mood in the camp is great, we’ve done pretty well so far winning quite a few medals in the pool and hopefully more to come and its great we are adding to the whole of Team Scotland on the medal table.”

Craig McLean, Scott McLay and Dan Wallace will also receive a medal for the part they played in the heats.

Toni Shaw hit the wall hard in her turn during the S9 100m backstroke final effectively dashing her medal hopes. The youngster battled down the final straight but finished 5th in 1:16.79.

Ross Murdoch and Craig Benson both progressed to tomorrow’s 100m breaststroke final, while Calum Tait finished his run in 12th place. Lucy Hope finished the 50m freestyle in 9th, while Kathleen Dawson had to swim twice to ensure her place in tomorrow’s 100m backstroke final. Posting a time of 1:00.67 for the semi-final, she found herself in a swim-off against Lizzie Simmonds (ENG) at the very end of the session.

In a classic Scotland/England clash it was Dawson who came out on top and will return tomorrow. Cassie Wild finished 10th overall.

Swimmers due to race in Saturday’s heats include Duncan Scott in the 200m butterfly, Corrie Scott and Hannah Miley in the 200m breaststroke, Toni Shaw and Beth Johnston in the SM9 200m IM, Craig McNally in the 50m backstroke, Duncan Scott, Jack Thorpe and Kieran McGuckin in the 100m freestyle. There is also the Women's 4x200m freestyle relay, for which Scotland will field a team.