GLASGOW, Scotland, April 3. THE Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championships kicked off at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow today with a host of athletes securing the qualification standard for Team Scotland consideration.
Courtesy of: Leo Mason - USA Today Sports
Courtesy of: Leo Mason - USA Today Sports
The highlight was the men's 50m breaststroke final with six of the finalists having achieved the qualification standard in the morning heats and six achieving the time in the final itself. The outstanding performance came from University of Stirling's Ross Murdoch who broke the British Record in the morning heats and equalled the time in the final to take gold. His time of 27.28 is the fastest time in the world this year. Mark Tully (East Lothian Swim Team) and Joe Welstead (Stirling Swimming) won silver and bronze respectively and their times (27.73 and 27.83) are also within the qualification standard for Team Scotland.
Following the race, Ross Murdoch said: "I came into the meet unrested so to post the time is a big relief. The British Record was in my mind having come close in January at the Flanders Speedo Cup in Antwerp, but to set it in the morning was a bit of a surprise, albeit a good one. It shows consistency which I'm pleased about."
When asked about the quality of breast-stroking in Scotland Murdoch continued: "I think there were about three or four of us in the final who are in the top 20 in the world at the 50m distance so it's always really competitive and we drive each other on. I'm aiming to qualify in all three breaststroke events and if I could come away from the Games with some hardware, then I'd be thrilled."
Defending 400m IM Champion, Hannah Miley (Garioch) stormed to victory in her favoured event, taking gold in 4:35.48, well inside the qualification time for Team Scotland, although according to the 24 year old it wasn't as easy as it may have looked. She said:
"I would never describe a 400m IM as easy, but it was the first time this season that I felt my usual self during the event. I've tried a lot of different things in the past six months, and at the tail end of last year I competed in 72 races over a four week period which to be honest was a bit mad.
"I'm feeling good and know I've got more to give so it's all about going back to training, putting in the mileage and being in the best possible shape to compete in July."
And with thoughts turning to the summer Miley continued, "It's very rare in a swimmer's career to be able to compete for your country at two home Games. I'm very privileged and I can't wait to hear the home crowd support."
The 200m butterfly final produced a great battle between University of Stirling team-mates Cameron Brodie and Lewis Smith. Brodie went out fast but Smith closed the gap in the 2nd 100m producing a fingertip finish, with Brodie just hanging on to take the title. Both Brodie and Smith's times, 1:58.18 and 1:58.37 respectively were within the qualification standard for Team Scotland and Brodie was delighted,
"That was a stressful race but I'm delighted. I was a bit too hyped up for the final and went out far too fast. I knew Lewis was coming back at me but somehow managed to hold on, it's a great feeling."
Kathleen Dawson also posted a Team Scotland qualification time in the 50m backstroke final and was lost for words with her victory, but did tell the packed crowd at Tollcross that she was "ecstatic".
In the final individual race of the night, the men's 1500m freestyle, Stephen Milne (Perth City) and Craig Hamilton (Warrender Baths) were shoulder to shoulder up to the final 100m when Stephen "gave it his all, and went for it." Milne took the title in 15:18.90 with Hamilton just behind in 15:20.16, both times within the qualification standard for Team Scotland.
Having picked up his medal, Milne said: "I really enjoyed that, what a great race. I wasn't aware of the time, but I was feeling good so knew I'd be happy with the time. This is the culmination of a four year plan I've been working on with my coach so I'm happy that I've achieved what I came to do.
"I've a lot more to learn and I'm keen to learn and I just take every day as it comes. I have my dreams, I keep them in the background and every day I take the small steps to achieving them."
In total nine Scottish swimmers have posted consideration times for Team Scotland.
The Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championship take place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre between 3rd and 6th April 2014.
If you missed any of the action or want to re-live Ross Murdoch's record breaking swim, you can watch all races again on Scottish Swimming's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/scottishswimming free of charge.
All of the interviews and shows will be available free of charge from Scottish Swimming's official soundcloud channel at htps://soundcloud.com/scottishswimming , with content uploaded throughout the final session each day. The nightly round up show will be available from 9pm each night.
Photos from the event will be available on Flickr: www.flickr.com/scottishswimming
The Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championships are taking place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre from Glasgow between 3rd and 6th April 2014. The event is the first of two selection meets for Team Scotland places.
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