Commonwealth Games: Duncan Scott Bests Tom Dean in 200 Freestyle; Bronze in 400 IM Won By Lewis Clareburt

Duncan Scott

Commonwealth Games: Duncan Scott Bests Tom Dean in 200 Freestyle; Bronze in 400 IM Won By Lewis Clareburt

The first round of the British rivalry between Duncan Scott and Tom Dean was held on the grandest of stages. It was last summer, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, in which Dean edged Scott for the gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle. The margin was a mere .04, and the duo went on to help Great Britain capture the Olympic crown in the 800 freestyle relay later in the competition.

Round Two went to Scott.

Rallying over the last 100 meters, Scott – representing Scotland – got the best of his English pal at the Commonwealth Games. Scott touched the wall in 1:45.02, with Dean following for the silver medal in a reversal of the Tokyo storyline. Dean posted a time of 1:45.41, which edged out Australia’s Elijah Winnington (1:45.62) for the bronze medal. Winnington won the 400 freestyle on the opening night of the meet.

About an hour later, Scott was back on the blocks for the final of the 400 individual medley. Two seconds off his personal best, it was clear the 200 freestyle had taken a toll and there wouldn’t be a double on this evening. New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt, in a Games record, won the gold in 4:08.70, with Olympic bronze medalist Brendon Smith of Australia taking the silver medal in 4:10.15. Scott finished in 4:11.27.

There was little doubt the matchup between Scott and Dean would be won by a sizable margin and, indeed, it was a tight affair. Dean was in the lead at the 100-meter mark, but only by .03 – 51.51 to 51.54. By the 150-meter turn, Scott was in the lead, 1:18.45 to 1:18.56, but with the outcome still in question. It wasn’t until Scott capped the race with a split of 26.57, compared to the 26.85 of Dean, in which the gold was decided.

In Tokyo, Scott was also the silver medalist in the 200 individual medley, which was won by China’s Wang Shun. In his two runnerup events, all of .32 separated the Scotsman from the top of the medals stand. And because neither of those events produced gold with the world watching, Scott – on a global basis – has not received the proper credit for his talents.

As one of the world’s premier performers in the 100 and 200 freestyles, along with the 200 individual medley and 400 IM, Scott has a distinct skill set, range that is not commonly found. Heck, he even medaled at the last edition of the Commonwealth Games in the 200 butterfly. When that type of widespread ability is recognized, it usually includes notoriety as one of the sport’s greats. Sure, Scott has received plaudits along the way, but he has often been overshadowed by fellow Brit Adam Peaty.

Although he came up short of Clareburt in the 400 IM, it’s time Scott’s name is routinely mentioned alongside the biggest men’s names around the deck – Peaty, Dressel, Milak and Popovici.

As for Clareburt, he was superb from the outset. The Kiwi was out in 55.94 for the opening butterfly leg and never looked back, his lead expanded with each stroke. Clareburt touched at the midway point in 1:59.58, the only sub-2:00 split in the field and he kept the pressure on in the breaststroke and freestyle.

Clareburt was the bronze medalist in the 400 IM during the 2018 Commonwealth Games and also finished third in the event at the 2019 World Championships. Last month, Clareburt finished fourth in the 400 medley at the World Champs and his time at the Commonwealth Games reflected a two-second drop.

Meet Results

200 Freestyle


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400 Individual Medley


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