Duncan Scott On Looking At The World From A Budapest Bubble As London Prepare To Roar

Duncan Scott (photo: Mike Lewis)
Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: MIKE LEWIS / ISL

While two-time Olympic relay silver medallist Duncan Scott has been at the ISL in Budapest, momentous events have taken place in the outside world.

The US election last week eventually saw Joe Biden declared the winner to become the new President of the United States, succeeding Donald Trump.

The pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world with the swimmer’s native Scotland being in three tiers of restrictions.

In sport, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has heard Russian Anti-Doping Agency‘s (RUSADA) appeal against the four-year ban from international competition imposed by WADA following the manipulation of data related to thousands of doping tests with a decision expected by the end of the year.

All the while, the International Swimming League has been taking place with hundreds of top international athletes training and competing at the Duna Arena.


Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Different events and lives can co-exist and run parallel and speaking shortly before the US election, Scott said:

“It is weird: it happens as well when you go away to other competitions that have a village.

“You are sort of in this bubble: in some regard it is quite nice because it shuts out everything from the outside world. But these are massive decisions that are going to be happening.

“And with what’s happening at home, it’s not nice to see some of the scenarios and situations that are still happening.

“Everyone here is in a really fortunate position that it’s able to go ahead and that we are in this bubble in comparison to what is happening in America or even back home.”

Some of his own London Roar team-mates could well be affected depending on the final decision by CAS.

Kirill Prigoda, Maria Kameneva and Mikhail Vekovishchev may find themselves barred from competing at the Olympics in Tokyo next July depending on the outcome – although the topic has never come up in conversation.

For triple world relay champion Scott, the ISL offers an opportunity to spend time training with and competing alongside swimmers he would rarely otherwise come into contact with.

Friendships have been forged with Scott also being taught some Russian vocabulary – although he’s not quite sure what.

He said:

“I’m trying to learn a little bit of Russian which is really tricky: I am not going to try and repeat anything that I’ve learned.

“They’ll say something and then laugh and you just don’t know what that word means.”


Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

He added:

“For me the best bit about the ISL is being on teams with people I am not usually on teams with. I really enjoyed London last year: there were hardly any Brits on the team and so many Aussies and a couple of Europeans as well and I really enjoyed that whole team dynamic of so many different cultures being on one team.

“We’ve got the same this year – obviously we have added a lot of Brits – but with that there is quite a few more Europeans this time which is good. A couple of them have trained in the States, we’ve still got the Brazilians and the Russians as well so I really enjoy that aspect of ISL.”

Scott and his London Roar team are set to face defending champions Energy Standard and newcomers Tokyo Frog Kings and New York Breakers in the semi-final on Saturday and Sunday.

Roar qualified third in the standings behind unbeaten Cali Condors and Energy.

It’s an intriguing match with the Frog Kings going four for four in both the men’s and women’s 400IM thanks to Kosuke Hagino and Yui Ohashi.

Scott – coached by Steven Tigg at the University of Stirling – won the 400IM in match 10 and may go up against Hagino, having already welcomed the Japanese swimmer’s return to the elite pool after physical and mental burnout resulted in him taking time out of the water.

This season has seen a number of innovations in the competition with the jackpot prompting a lot of debate, especially early on.

Scott agreed that it can have a significant impact on the result, adding:

“If it’s more entertaining, then I guess maybe that’s why it’s in there. The ISL is trying to make it more of a show.

“Potentially the argument is it’s world-class swimmers, it’s not for the faint-hearted so if you are that far back – it’s international swimming.”


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