Joy of six medals for Scotland’s ‘superstar’
● On the podium more times than any other Scot at a single Games, Scott ends superb week with a silver in 200 IM
Resplendent in his kilt, Duncan Scott concluded his duties as a one-man medal magnet in the Gold Coast Aquatics Centre yesterday by making a sixth trip to the podium in as many days of the Commonwealth Games swimming competition.
A record for any Scot at any Games. A star properly born, with the 20-year-old concluding his haul with silver in the 200 metres individual medley, denied – to no disgrace – by Mitch Larkin who was part of a wave of home success that saw Australia land eight of the nine golds on offer during the last night in the pool.
Twice an Olympic silver medallist already, Scott was just one of the boys at Rio 2016 with both honours coming through the relays. Assuredly now, he will leave Queensland vying with Adam Peaty to be the leader of Britain’s pack heading towards Tokyo 2020.
He almost earned medal number seven as the curtain prepared to fall, with Scotland just edged into fourth in the 4x100 medley relay. With twothirds of his bounty plundered from individual raids, he has an abundant treasure trove from this trip, even if Larkin stole an early march in the 200 IM to win in a Games record of 1:57.67, his challenger just 0.21 seconds behind and Australian Clyde Lewis denying Mark Szaranek bronze with Dan Wallace sixth.
“Mitch has been unbelievable this week – that’s his fourth gold,” Scott said. “There are loads of guys in that race who could have won it or even have touched me out or been in the top three. It was a real battle. It was a real dogfight. I really enjoyed it.”
His solitary gold, from the blue riband offering of the 100m freestyle, surely resonated most but it is Scott’s ever-improving versatility across all four swimming strokes which has been singularly impressive. At Stirling University, his coach Steve Tigg has scoped out a plan to make his charge fast but also multi-faceted. Gold Coast may have just been a taster session.
“I sat down with Steve beforehand, like we always do, every meeting, and talked about the possibilities,” said Scott. “It was possible that good things could happen and the bad things. This is obviously on the good things spectrum.”
Within Scotland’s elaborately-decorated block in the Athletes Village is hung a board which records each medal. Twenty-eight have now been commemorated, more room already required, with just one extra needed to reach the target of equalling, at least, the best-ever overseas haul achieved in Melbourne 12 years ago. An astonishing 21 per cent have come from one talented source, to the admiration of his aquatics colleagues.
“Duncan is a sensational individual,” said Ross Murdoch. “He’s the superstar of our generation. And he’s only 20 years old. He’s got a few more years of dominating. I’m disappointed in his 200 [freestyle]. I really think he could have had the win in that. But he’s shown his class from the first day and since then it’s been all go.”
British Swimming is using the Commonwealths to formulate their squad for August’s European Championships in Glasgow, with the top two Britons in each final assured of selection. Scott has earned myriad chances to impress once again on home soil.
Wallace, though, will need to wait to see whether a relay spot is forthcoming for what he had hoped would be a fitting farewell. Stephen Milne, likewise.
While Craig Benson, who swam in the 4x100 medley heats, once again left a Commonwealths empty-handed with Scott, Murdoch, Szaranek and Craig Mcnally thwarted by Australia, England and South Africa in the final despite a Scottish record of 3:35.15. “We’re all devastated by that,” Murdoch declared.
There was fifth-place finish and a Scottish best of 4:05.17 for Kathleen Dawson, Corrie Scott, Keanna Macinnes and Lucy Hope in their 4x100 medley, while England’s Ben Proud briefly interrupted the home procession with gold in the 50m freestyle.