Saturday, April 9, 2022

Scott secures medley double on penultimate day of championships

Duncan Scott secured the medley double with victory in the 200m IM final on the penultimate day of competition at the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

Scott, who won silver in the event at last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, led from the off, and powered his way to victory in a time of 1:56.08. Tom Dean (Bath NC) finished strongly for the silver medal in 1:57.18, while Loughborough University’s James McFadzen secured the bronze medal in 1:59 .60.

Scott, who is coached by Steven Tigg at the University of Stirling, said of his performance,

“That was hard and to be honest I didn’t know where I’d be at. I’m pretty happy with it and I did what I wanted to do. I really wanted to challenge that front end because I thought that is where last year I could have maybe gone a bit better. It was a good honest swim.

“Since the start of the season, I wanted to mix things up a bit. It obviously will still benefit this and the 200 free but it is not going to make me as ready for the 200s at this moment in time. But I came here with 400 IM as my priority. That was the main thing. For the rest of the season, I’ll have a decision about what I’m going to do. But moving forward, the 200s are the main thing.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s 200m freestyle, the event where Tom Dean and Scott won Olympic gold and silver respectively, Scott said,

“The 200 free will be a good race. There are still quite a few people who are trying to get on some teams, whether that’s Team England, Scotland or Wales. There’s going to be some fast times in the morning to try and qualify.”

Scott’s Stirling team-mate, Mark Szaranek, finished fourth while Evan Jones of Millfield posted another European Junior consideration time, finishing fifth in 2:03.14. He said of his performance,

“I’m happy with how things have gone this week. I started off with the 400m IM, which was a good PB for me. I haven’t been close to where I was last year on my 200m IM, so it’s taken me until now to get a good drop in time, almost two seconds off my previous best with that.

“I’ve a new coach at Millfield, Ryan Livingstone, and that’s been really good. We’re doing a lot more metres now than we did last year, not that the training wasn’t good last year and I was dropping a lot of times. But this year seems to have taken me to the next level, especially on the back end of races, and on the freestyle there, I was able to put in a strong last 50, which last year would probably have been one of my weaknesses.”

In the women’s event, Katie Shanahan secured another Commonwealth Games consideration time on her way to the bronze medal. The 17-year-old City of Glasgow Swim Team athlete, who is coached by Ian Wright, finished in 2:13.63. Abbie Wood (Loughborough NC) secured a hattrick of titles, taking gold in 2:11.03, with her team-mate, Lily Booker winning silver in 2:13.41.

While Shanahan started the week with apprehension, she has finished strongly and summed up her performances. She said,

“It’s gone better than I expected. The circumstances before weren’t the best. It wasn’t the best preparation. I was a bit unwell. So to be doing these times I’m really happy. Now is not really the time to be swimming fast. It’s all about making the teams. The next couple of months will be hard work before the summer.

“I was quite nervous coming into the meet because I hadn’t been feeling well for a while, and I knew all these other girls are training well. I was nervous but the nerves didn’t get the better of me.”

University of Aberdeen Performance’s Yvonne Brown was eighth in 2:18.46.

Earlier in the evening Kathleen Dawson won bronze in the 50m backstroke final. The British Record holder for the event, who trains at University of Stirling, finished in a time of 28.31. Her Stirling team-mate, Cassie Wild, finished just behind in 28.49 for fourth.

Dawson, who is pre-selected for Team Scotland at this summer’s Commonwealth Games, said of her performance this week,

“There have been some pretty average, solid swims this week. I didn’t have the best training block coming in because of being compromised by injuries.  Overall it's just been fairly average but I'm happy to have come down and competed. This was good to see where I am at against these girls who are swimming so well at the minute.”

Speaking about her injuries, Dawson said,

“I'm seeing a neurosurgeon on Monday to discuss my options on what to do. It's been a bit frustrating (competing this week with the consultation next week), but like I said, there's nothing I can do about it. I've been here to enjoy myself and to be back racing.

Wild, who has also been plagued by injury and illness, was disappointed with her time, and said,

“I’m obviously gutted it wasn’t a bit quicker (0.04 off Commonwealth Games consideration time for event), I guess the last few months have taken their toll and training hasn’t been easy.”

Talking about the shoulder injury and how that has impacted her training coming into the meet, Wild said,

“As I said earlier in the meet, I’ve had to re-evaluate my goals for this season. I had to put my decision to pull out of the 200 to one side and just focus on the 50. I definitely feel I have higher expectations of myself after last summer. Last year they were certainly higher than they would be now with the injury and the illness I’ve had, both of which just seemed to have happened back to back. I had Covid in January and time out the water, even getting back into training was tough. Then in February I injured my shoulder.

“It’s not been the best start to the year for me but I just need to get my head down and back to it next week.”

In the junior final of the 400m freestyle, it was a Scottish 1-2 with with Scottish National Junior Team members, Laura Hodgson (Newcastle Swim Team) taking the title in 4:23.43 and Natasha Simson (Warrender Baths Club) coming home second in 4:24.84.

Hodgson was pleased with how she had executed her race plan, and said,

“The plan was to go out with an easy speed then build it up over the 100s, and I think I did that quite well there. While it was outside the consideration time for the European Juniors, I’m still happy with how I swam that final. I’ve enjoyed myself this week and it’s amazing to be in the call room with the likes of Freya Anderson, she’s someone I look up to.”

Simson was also enjoying competing at the British Championships and said,

“This event is such an incredible opportunity to race against people we haven’t seen or not been able to race before. There’s a lot of great swimmers here so I’m really enjoying the experience.

“I’ve learned a lot from racing here, including for the 400 free, the different ways to swim the race. I swam the final differently to how I swam the heat. I’m also learning a lot from watching the senior athletes, seeing how they prepare ahead of their race and then what they do in the race itself.”

Full results from all finals across the meet can be found here.

The Team Scotland selection policy for aquatics (including swimming, diving and para-swimming), can be found here.

Selection policies for the World Championships, European Championships, European Junior Championships and European Youth Olympic Festival can be found here.

The British Swimming Championships are being streamed live on the British Swimming YouTube page.