Friday, April 16, 2021

Marvellous Murdoch makes the grade for Tokyo

Ross Murdoch brought more cheer to the University of Stirling Swim Team with a Tokyo consideration time on Day 3 of the British Swimming Selection Meet, being held at the London Aquatics Centre.

In the last race of the night Ross Murdoch gave it his all to come home in 2nd place, behind James Wilby, in the 200m breaststroke final and within that all important 2:09.05 time for the Tokyo Olympic Games. He took the touch on 2:08.98 and was delighted. He said,

“I’m on the cusp of tears, it feels so nice. Five years ago I missed the team for that event by as much as I made it tonight and, it feels such a privilege, such a pleasure to be training with the guys at Stirling. It’s not a PB for me by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m just so happy to have made it. I can’t wait to get back home and see my folks and chat to everyone about it.

“It’s been such a team effort over the past year. I need to shout out to my brother, my best mate, and my girlfriend Andrea, who came out running with me, who came out open water swimming with me. You know there’s a lot of guys out there who aren’t swimming at the moment; I was in the same boat this time last year and was in the wetsuit or going out buying new trainers to run half marathons. I was just doing anything to stay fit. I can’t believe all that suffering paid off tonight, it feels brilliant and I don’t think I’ll wipe the smile off my face for quite some time. I can train freely without the burden of a looming trials.”

Speaking about how he was feeling during lockdown, Murdoch continued,

“The easy option during lockdown was to retire, but I didn’t take it, I kept working away, plugging away on small things. All credit to Steve (Tigg) and Brad (Hay), the coaches at Stirling, and the support team of JT (Jon Twynham) and Shanksy (Neil Shanks); without them all I don’t think they would have got that out of me. I was so nervous tonight and this result is a culmination of a big team effort.

“I love training, love turning up, love the group of guys I train with. Even back in the water there was plenty of times when I thought about chucking it. We were back in, did a good bit of work then we did a stand up and I think short course I went 60.9. That sounds OK but my best is 56.6 and I was tearing my hair out and wondering how to get back to where I had been. Even in Manchester last month I went 2:12.8, then a few days later is was 2:15.4 and I’m like how can I make this time for Tokyo?”

On turning that corner and securing his time, Murdoch spoke of his training partners and said,

“It’s about turning up for training every day, and I’m training with the backstroke girls and Keanna (MacInnes) and we are racing each other all the time and pushing each other on. They’ve been beating me all season and I’ve just been trying to push things on.  Training with them has been so inspiring, to watch them bounce back after a tough couple of years and see them with real fire inside to progress, it’s been great. I’m so happy right now.”

Tobermory Mackay-Champion (City of Oxford) finished 8th in the final in 2:22.00.

And speaking of training partner, Keanna MacInnes produced an outstanding performance in the 200m butterfly powering down the last 50m to take second place in a new personal best time of 2:08.86, just 0.6 off the Tokyo consideration time. Afterwards MacInnes said,

“I’ve been waiting quite a while for that, it’s a three and a half year old PB so good to see it happen tonight. I was in the lane next to Laura (Stephens) and I wanted to make sure I didn’t drop back in the middle of the race as I knew I had a strong finish.

“Watching Kat (Kathleen Dawson) and Cassie (Wild) last night, then Duncan and Aimee on the first night has been really inspiring and we are all spurring each other on.”

In the same 200m butterfly final Nikki Miller (East Kilbride Swim Team) and Yvonne Brown (University of Aberdeen Performance Swim) finished in 2:13.86 and 2:15.94 respectively. Miller was also in action in the 400m freestyle where she finished with a time of 4:21.21.

Duncan Scott equalled his British Record in the hugely competitive 100m freestyle final. The University of Stirling athlete took the touch in 47.87 and said of his performance,

“Being disappointed with the time is just the high standards I set myself, but I’ve got to be pleased with that time. That time is from the 2019 Trials; I didn’t race it at the Worlds so it’s been quite a while since I did a 100m PB tapered. I’ve got to take away the positives, I’m in really good shape so I’m looking forward to the other events I’ve got this week.

“The quality of the field is credit to British swimming and the rest of the guys in that field. I think the relay that was put out last year showed that it can be competitive internationally and that field there showed why that can be. Matt Richards was great, Deano (Tom Dean) was excellent again and then there was the really young boy (Jacob Whittle) going rapid as well, it was a really great field.”

Speaking about the goals he sets himself for each of his events:

“There’s different things I want to try and do in each of the events and that’s why I enjoy it so much. The internal pressure and high expectations I put on myself way outweigh what anyone can put on me. Sometimes it’s all really good, other times I fall short and that was one of them but I have to come away thinking I’m in really good shape and that’s the joint fastest I’ve ever been in that event so I’ve got to be happy.

University of Edinburgh’s Jack Thorpe also made it through to the 100m freestyle final where he finished in 49.92.

Earlier in the evening  the finals session kicked off with the 400m IM, where Mark Szaranek (University of Stirling), finished in 4:17.44, Charlie Hutchison (Loughborough NC) in 4:18.91, while Angus Allison (Warrender Baths Club) posted a near five second PB for the event, coming home in 2:24.47. 

Results from the Meet can be found HERE.

Click HERE to watch every heat and finals swim from the British Swimming Selection Trials