Time now the en­emy as Scots swim­mer strug­gles to stop the rot as Rio looms large

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - SU­SAN EGEL­STAFF

AF­TER win­ning a re­mark­able sil­ver medal at Lon­don 2012, Michael Jamieson has ad­mit­ted that he has se­vere doubts about whether he will even make it to a se­cond Olympic Games. The 27-year-old was only able to fin­ish in sixth place in the 200m breast­stroke at the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional last night but the more wor­ry­ing thing was his time. Jamieson fin­ished in 2 min­utes 16.13 sec­onds which leaves him with a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment needed if he is to make it into Team GB for the Rio Olympics.

The Bri­tish Olympic tri­als are in just four over weeks’ time. And with a raft of world-class Bri­tish breast­stro­kers fight­ing for just two places, Jamieson knows that a much-im­proved per­for­mance will be re­quired.

“This is rub­bish and miles away from where I need to be,” he said, “es­pe­cially when no­body is do­ing any­thing spe­cial. It is not like I am not ca­pa­ble of the times that are kick­ing around just now. I do not want to over­re­act, I have still got an­other month (un­til the tri­als), but usu­ally I am swim­ming 2:10 at this stage of the sea­son so I am quite a bit off.”

Jamieson has had a no­to­ri­ously tough time of late. He fa­mously lost out to his com­pa­triot, Ross Mur­doch, for gold at Glas­gow 2014 and then missed out on se­lec­tion for the World Cham­pi­onships last year.

For an ath­lete of Jamieson’s class, this loss of form is clearly hit­ting him hard. “I am just get­ting a bit fed up swim­ming like this,” he said. “Over­all, I still have the be­lief but I am not swim­ming world-class times. All the re­spect in the world to the guys next to me but I know I should be head and shoul­ders in front. I do not know what else I can do and at the mo­ment — I have got a long way to go. There have been a num­ber of times I have been hold­ing back the tears over the last cou­ple of years — I do not want it to fin­ish but it is hard to take, swim­ming like this. I care so much about it, I do not want it to be over.”

Af­ter miss­ing out on World Cham­pi­onship se­lec­tion last year — the first ma­jor cham­pi­onship he had not been se­lected for since 2009 — Jamieson re­lo­cated from Bath to Ed­in­burgh in an at­tempt to reignite his ca­reer. The move has not proved quite as suc­cess­ful as he had hoped, though.

“I made the move to try to ad­dress a few of the is­sues with my speed but it has al­most gone the op­po­site way, it has re­gressed even more,” he said. “When you change pro­gramme, you have got to buy into it 100 per cent and I have done. I am do­ing ev­ery­thing I have been asked. Some­times a change works, some­times it does not.

“In Bath, I was do­ing a sim­i­lar train­ing model and ob­vi­ously I had some great re­sults but I wanted to change it be­cause I wanted to be the first guy to go 2:06. It was a gam­ble but I would rather be go­ing for it than set­tling for the re­sults I have had in the past and I take re­spon­si­bil­ity for that move. The phys­i­o­log­i­cal adap­ta­tions seem to be pretty muted now whereas when I was a bit younger, I could re­spond to train­ing stim­u­lus quickly. And we are run­ning out of time.”

Jamieson may be de­mor­alised but, en­cour­ag­ingly, he has not stopped look­ing for so­lu­tions. He said: “I am think­ing about this non-stop. I am talk­ing to as many peo­ple as I can and I have got all the anal­y­sis. My phys­i­o­log­i­cal make-up sug­gests it is still there. But trans­fer­ring it into the wa­ter just now seems to be the prob­lem.”

TOUGH TIMES: Michael Jamieson is ‘usu­ally swim­ming 2:10 at this stage of the sea­son’ as he strives for Olympic se­lec­tion

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