Duncan Scott Fires Off 1:47.06 200 Free In Morning Final At McCullagh International

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Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Duncan Scott fired off a time of 1:47.06 in the final of the 200m free at the McCullagh International in Bangor, Northern Ireland, a 27.81 blast down the last 50 rocketing him into the world top 6 on the early 2020 World Rankings.

The double Olympic medallist cut 0.26secs from his time of 1:47.32 in the evening heats – with the meet at the Bangor Aquatic and Leisure Complex mirroring the Tokyo 2020 schedule – to lead home Jack McMillan (1:48.28) and Stephen Milne (1:50.53).

The University of Stirling swimmer adopted different tactics in the morning final – going out slightly slower than on Friday evening and coming back quicker – with splits of 25:07; 26:72; 27:46; 27.81 – compared to a last 50 of 28.24 last night.

It hurt but more lessons learned and ever-evolving and Scott was satisfied, telling Swimming World:

“That may be the quickest I have ever gone in-season – not sure – but definitely up there.

“I’m happy I went quicker than last night, second one of the year.

“Same sort of tactic: just try and hurt myself and challenge myself really on that back end which I did!

“I’m suffering a lot but it’s good, I’ll probably get quite a lot from that.”

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Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

The 22-year-old remains the sixth-fastest man over four lengths in 2020 and his time is just 0.02secs outside Velimir Stjepanovic’s time from the Euro Meet in Luxembourg last month.

The Top Six in 2020

  • 1:45.55 Sun Yang, Fina Series Beijing
  • 1:45.74 Danas Rapsys, Fina Series Beijing
  • 1:45.82 Katsuhiro Matsumoto, Konami Cup, Tokyo
  • 1:46.65 Daiya Seto, Konami Cup, Tokyo
  • 1:47.04 Velimir Stjepanovic, Euro Meet
  • 1:47.06 Duncan Scott, McCullagh International

Not that his place in the fledgling world rankings overly concerns the Scot.

Scott told Swimming World:

“I didn’t realise. I don’t usually follow stuff like that. It’s not really relevant in that sense: I am always just comparing against myself with what I’m doing and how I’m performing.

“I know by the time we get to trials everybody is going to be in great shape and then beyond it at any international meet, everyone is going to be very well-prepared.

“It’s not something I particularly look into or follow so I was unaware of that but hey.”

There were victories for Molly Renshaw, James Wilby, Max Litchfield, Luke Greenbank and Dan Jervis – among others – as well as an Irish record for Danielle Hill of 1:00.90 in the women’s 100m backstroke behind winner Kathleen Dawson (1:00.28).

Scott Atop The Waters Of ‘Outrageous Depth’

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Duncan Scott; Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

Scott is at the forefront in Great Britain in the 100 and 200 freestyle – events that are starting to show a great depth following global success, both in individual and relay events.

James Guy won the individual world title in Kazan, Russia, in 2015 when he also anchored the 4x2oo to gold.

Since then the British quartet have won Olympic silver in 2016 and retained their world title in Budapest in 2017  while finishing just 0.06secs off the podium in fifth at last year’s World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea – when Scott set a new national record of 1:44.91 as lead-off.

There are some young pretenders clamouring to play a part come the British Olympic trials in April.

Jacob Whittle – the fastest 14-year-old in history over 100m – Matt Richards, the European junior 100m free champion and 200 silver medallist – and Ed Mildred, 200m champion at the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival and who finished eighth here in Bangor in 1:52.61.

Scott said:

I think we are starting to see that in a lot of events in Britain: we have got some really good depth. That 100 breaststroke – we’ve got four guys sub-60 and the first and second in the world last year.

“In particular events we have some outrageous depth – in the 200 free since 2015 when we were world champions.

“Since then I think people have been like ‘I want to try and get on that team’ so that’s created quite a lot of depth in itself.

“It’s always a bit of a dogfight on that last day of trials getting into that final and going from there.

“There are numerous events that are going to be really tough so it’s about making sure I’m well prepared and I’m at my best.”

Renshaw Goes 2:26 To Hold Off McSharry

Molly Renshaw

Molly Renshaw; Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Renshaw sliced 1.13secs off her heat time in the 200m breaststroke final to 2:26.79, getting her hand to the wall first after a tussle with Irish swimmer Mona McSharry who clocked 2:28.22.

The Commonwealth silver medallist was not overly satisfied with her time, however, and told Swimming World:

“I think I would have liked to have gone a bit faster. It’s always going to be hard coming back in the morning and kind of beat what we did last night.

“But I am happy – that was a strong swim. I think the fatigue is kicking in a little bit now and we’re all getting pretty tired and I think we all kind of struggled to go faster as a group.

“But it’s good practise and it’s better that we are practising it now than in summer.”

McSharry pushed Renshaw all the way with the Irishwoman pushing all the way into the final metres but the National Centre Loughborough likes to swim in a bubble, saying: ”

“I try not to think of it as a race: I kind of swim with blinkers on and try no tot think what is going on around me because if I do I get distracted and my stroke goes to pot.

“So I think whenever I race I try and down my own race and stick to my race plan so although it’s nice to have people to race I’m always focusing on myself.”

Wilby Always Committed To Learning Lessons

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Commonwealth champion and European silver medallist Wilby led from gun to tape in the men’s 200m breaststroke to win in 2:11.23 ahead of Ross Murdoch who touched in 2:13.04.

Out in 29.48 – the only sub-30 in the field – Wilby subsequently split 33.29; 33.85; 34.61 although it was the composition of the race and his current racing and training as part of his overall 2020 that concerned him more than the time.

He told Swimming World:

“I’m really not too worried about the times in the end – it’s about that process and I know I need to be really confident and really commit to that first 100 and 150 because the back end is where my strength is.

“So if I can be right up there at that last wall then that will be a really nice place to be come the summer.

“It’s all practising that and if it hurts here and ends up a little bit ugly towards the end so what?

“It’s all about practising that mental approach and tactical approach towards the first part of the race.”

The 26-year-old won medley relay gold with England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow only for the following two years to be ruined by illness.

Wilby made his worlds debut in 2017 in Budapest where he finished 18th, 0.51 outside the semi-final cut, and at the end of the year he and coach Dave Hemmings vowed to always absorb as much as possible from experience, a constant evolution.

Since then Wilby has won European and Commonwealth titles and at last year’s worlds in Gwangju, he took 100m silver behind GB team-mate Adam Peaty and swum the heats of the men’s medley relay in which the quartet won a memorable gold.

There was also bronze in the mixed medley relay.

Wilby added:

“I credit a lot of my breakout to really just sitting myself down and committing to learning from the mistakes and not letting things go wrong because as soon as you stop reflecting and learning – even if things go well – then that is when you can get a bit stuck and plateau out a bit.

“So at the end of the 2017 season after worlds I was like ‘right, absolutely everything I have got to learn from’ so that was just a philosophy we continued and we’re still doing that up until this day. So hopefully the continuation of improvement keeps rolling.”

Peaty had qualified for the final but coach Mel Marshall explained to Swimming World it had always been the intention that he not take his place this morning.

Instead they wanted to keep working on his technique, especially starts and turns, with Marshall explaining:

“He’s here for four days & he’s got the 50 so we just wanted to keep that going. He’s got a really big week next week so it’s about managing that intensity.”

Peaty goes in the 50 heats tonight with the final on Sunday morning.

Greenbank Enjoys Late Surge & Litchfield Wins 400IM

(140819) -- Nanjing,Aug 19,2014 (Xinhua) -- Luke Greenbank of Great Britain celebrates after Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay final of swimming event of Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, on Aug. 19, 2014. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua) (txt)

Photo Courtesy: Xinhua/Fei Maohua

Greenbank came through in the latter stages to win the 100m backstroke in 55.02 following a delayed start which saw Irish record holder Shane Ryan get out of the pool and sit down behind his blocks.

Ryan was the quickest out in 26.57 with Greenbank third only for the National Centre Loughborough swimmer to overhaul him and fellow Irishman Conor Ferguson in  the final metres to take the victory, 0.09secs inside his heat time of 55.11 on Friday morning.

Ryan was second in 55.18 with Ferguson rounding out the podium in 55.50.

Greenbank, who led off the British quartet to their memorable 4×1 medley relay victory in Gwangju, said:

“It’s the fastest I’ve done this season: it would have been nice to dip under 55 but that’s just me being picky. Pleased with it overall.

“First 50 felt really smooth and then tried to push it on a bit on the second 50 – really happy with that.”

It was his first attempt at a morning final and he said:

“It’s something a bit different but it’s really good to get a few morning swims under my belt and to progress that from the heats in the evening to finals in the morning is really important.”

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Max Litchfield – Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr

Litchfield dominated the 400IM from start to finish to win in 4:19.81, almost 15 seconds ahead of Cadan McCarthy, the next home in 4:34.45.

The National Centre Loughborough swimmer had been 0.80secs swifter in Friday evening’s heats and he was not happy after hauling himself out of the pool, blowing.

He told Swimming World: “That was hard: I thought I’d be quicker there than last night but in-season and hard training and coming back from last night into this morning.

“It’s not an excuse at all being a morning final but it’s something we have to look at and hopefully we can make that adjustment come trials and hopefully for the summer. I’ll have to go back and look at it and see what we did different to last night.”

Litchfield, who was sporting the early growth of a beard – “a work in progress” – added:

“We go back and look at how it’s different to when I swim my best and look at it for the rest of the season.

“We get up and train early and do race-pace stuff so its not the same but it’s a simulation of that so you just have to use that as well as you can.”

Abbie Wood led from start to finish to win the women’s 200 free in 1:59.96 – the only sub-two-minute effort of the field – ahead of Alys Thomas ((2:00.54) and Aimee Willmott (2:00.96).

Jervis added the 1500m gold to the 800 free he won on Friday, the clock his only challenger as the Welshman claimed victory in 15:09.35, 76.06 seconds ahead of Jackson O’Rourke in second, the 18-year-old touching in 16:25.41.

McSharry opened Saturday’s medal account won the women’s 50 fly in 27.14 with Calum Bain taking the men’s in 24.60.

 

 

 

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