Friday, March 11, 2022

Britain's best swimmers light up capital on opening day of racing in Edinburgh

After a two-year enforced hiatus, the Edinburgh International Swim Meet made a welcome return to the Royal Commonwealth Pool, with the best of British athletes, including Olympic, World and European champions, racing some stiff competition from across Europe.

University of Stirling’s Duncan Scott had a busy opening day, racing both the 200m freestyle and 200m IM, events he won individual silver medals in at last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Scott, who is coached by Steven Tigg, was back racing good friend and Olympic gold medallist, Tom Dean, in the final of the 200m freestyle. Scott put in a strong performance but a blistering final 50m from Dean, saw the Bath NC athlete take the touch in a time of 1:47.60. Scott finished second in 1:48.59, while James Guy (Bath NC) finished third in 1:48.74. University of Stirling’s Stephen Milne finished fifth in 1:50.16.

Scott didn’t have long to wait before taking to the blocks again, this time in the final of the 200m IM. The 24-year old led from the off, easing off down the final 50m to come home in a time of 1:59.35. Andreas Vazaios and James McFadzen of Loughborough University finished second and third respectively (1:59.86 and 2:03.68.

Scott said of his performances,

“This meet isn’t really about swimming fast. I know when I need to swim fast and how I need to swim.  I’m happy with the 200IM and the 200 Free as well. It was a tough race, all the boys in a similar position. It was a bit of a dogfight which is good - you learn a lot from races like that.

“I’m racing a lot over the weekend and it’s going to be tough to recover from today, this has been quite a shock to the system. Two 200s this morning then coming back and trying to better them tonight, it has been tough. And tomorrow’s 400IM, I’ve not raced a 400IM long course in years, that will be a tough one tomorrow morning and I’ll need a lot of time to recover from that before the final, well hopefully the final.”

Looking ahead to Trials, Scott continued,

“It will be good to see how people race in Sheffield. I’m in a fortunate position to have pre-qualified for both Worlds and Commonwealth Games, but there are others out there fighting for places in teams. There are so many swimmers from so many teams racing at Trials and it will be very exciting to watch.”

Edinburgh University’s Kara Hanlon continued her excellent form with a win in the 100m breaststroke final. Hanlon, who broke the Scottish Senior Record for the event at BUCS last month, used her back end speed to take over the lead from Olympic semi-finalist Sarah Vasey. Hanlon finished in 1:08.34, closely followed by Vasey (Loughborough NC) in 1:08.38. Imogen Clark of Derventio completed the top three in 1:08.93. Hanlon’s Edinburgh team-mate, Katie Goodburn, was close to her PB, finishing sixth in 1:10.80. Hanlon said of her recent form,

“It’s just confidence building I suppose. I go into each race giving it my best shot and working on all the things I need to work on. Just holding it down that back end, which I’m working a lot on in training, so to pull that off is nice to see.

“I know Sarah (Vasey) and Imogen (Clark) are so fast over the opening 50, I just have to keep with them that first 50 without giving too much. I know I have a bit of speed myself, so I work on my easy speed as well and that felt good.”

With the British Championships a little over three weeks away, Hanlon said of her preparation,

“I’m feeling really good about Trials. We are in a hard block of training at the moment and we’ve done a lot of racing over the last 3-4 weeks. It will be nice to do another couple of hard weeks then go onto taper which is exciting.

“The group are really positive at the moment, we push each other every day. Even in the gym we are pushing it hard with PBs and as a team we’re just championing each other.”

University of Stirling’s Keanna Macinnes again showcased her senior swimmer status with a solid win the 200m butterfly final, finishing in a time of 2:11.34. Emily Large (Bath NC) was second in 2:11.59 while Edinburgh University’s Ciara Schlosshan finishing third in 2:13.77. Yvonne Brown (University of Aberdeen Performance) and Jennifer King (University of Stirling) finished fourth and sixth respectively (2:13.96 and 2:17.54).

Macinnes said of her race,

“I think it's quite positive, particularly the heat swim. Recently, I found that my heats have been a little better. And that is something I've been really working on, and the main focus of that swim was to work on my underwater, which is something I've also been working really hard on in training. And I've noticed as well, like my kick times in training, I've got a lot faster recently.”

In other events, Kathleen Dawson (University of Stirling) took victory in the 100m backstroke, while team-mate, Craig McNally, finished third in his 100m backstroke final. There were also wins for James Wilby (200m breaststroke), Ben Proud (50m butterfly) and Anna Hopkin (50m freestyle).

Full results from the meet can be found on the EISM website 

All sessions can be watched again via the Streamscene Youtube channel.

The finals are also being streamed live by BBC Scotland Sport.

The Edinburgh International Swim Meet is taking place at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh from 11-13 March 2022.