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

The Scotsman - - Commonwealth Games - By MARK WOODS

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.

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