GREAT SCOTT STANDS ALONE
But five-star Duncan is quick to credit team as he makes history
UNRIVALLED. Without equal. In a position to add to his record-breaking tally. And perhaps just the tiniest bit uncomfortable with the attention.
Duncan Scott is all of the above, his starring role in Team Scotland confirmed when he won 100metres freestyle gold and a bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay last night.
Medals number four and five meant he has now won more in a single Commonwealth Games than any other Scot. Ever.
Quite something, even on a day when the team landed eight medals in total.
Typically, he was quick to pay tribute to the relay team-mates who had helped him bag two of his historic haul, while shying away from the idea that he had become the new face of Scottish men’s swimming — following in the wake of such champions as Michael Jamieson and Ross Murdoch.
Scott, who still has the 200m individual medley and 4x100m medley relay to come in the closing sessions tomorrow, sees his success as a natural by-product of yet another wave of Scottish talent breaking through.
‘You know, that’s the second medal I’ve picked up in a relay event,’ said the 20-year-old Glaswegian. ‘So I couldn’t have the medal count I do without the teams I’ve been swimming with.
‘The relay depth we’ve got in Scotland at the moment is phenomenal. There are boys who have been left out of this team who could easily have stepped in — and you wouldn’t have noticed the difference. Likewise with the 4x100 relay.
‘So it’s really positive for Scotland that we’re medalling in relay events.
‘The Games aren’t finished yet. It’ll depend on how we finish, what that does for our reputation. But regardless of how other nations see us, we know ourselves how good we are and what we can do.
‘These Games, at the start, we just sort of built into it and have shown what we can do, how we can deliver.
‘We’ve got a fairly young team and that’s a great positive for the future.
‘We’ve definitely got some younger swimmers back home ready to fill some shoes or push to get on the team. Scottish swimming is in a great place right now.’
On his place in the history books, Scott insisted: ‘It’s not something I’d thought about before. This is the first time I’ve really thought about it, to be honest.
‘I don’t know if I’m the face. If I am, then great. But we have so many different faces in Scottish swimming who can compete at such a high level — it doesn’t matter who it is.
‘We’ll strive to do the best and that’s why Scottish swimming is in such a good place right now.’
Scott created a sensation at the Optus Aquatic Centre with one of the most spectacular closing bursts of these Games, his final ten metres moving him beyond the great Chad le Clos — after he had been down in sixth at the halfway point.
He spoke afterwards of ‘hunting’ the South African down. And it felt a bit like a blood sport, watching a great Olympian tie up as the young Scot closed in.
Big-game fishing surely never gets as exciting as watching our boy harpoon this particular whale.
With a block of Scotland fans clad in blue in the south stand — the far end of the pool from the start and finishing blocks — the medal ceremony was always going to be a little noisier than you would expect for the average ‘visiting’ nation.
And the lap of honour took a while, as Scott paused to embrace every single team-mate and official who had gathered at poolside to congratulate him.
Le Clos was the first person in the pool to embrace his conqueror, Scott offering a nod towards the great man’s famously effusive father — forever remembered for the interview he gave to the BBC’s Clare Balding at London 2012 — by saying: ‘Oh, he’s a great guy. He was first to congratulate me. He’s the first guy in the call room to say good luck.
‘He’s just a great sportsman. He is unbelievable — as his dad said! He’s an incredible athlete for the sport. He’s beaten one of the GOATs (greatest of all time) Michael Phelps.
‘He’s building his own legacy. He really is an extraordinary athlete.
‘I maybe left it a bit too late in the race! Even my coach was on the edge.
‘I was just trying to race Chad next to me, because I couldn’t see past him. I was a bit behind at 50 and even at 75, so I was just trying to catch him. He goes out really
Different class: Scott punches the air after claiming 100metres freestyle gold and (inset, second right) showing off his fifth medal of these Games, bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay with Stephen Milne, Mark Szaranek and Dan Wallace