Duncan Scott To Miss World Championships To Focus On Recovery From Covid

18th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials Duncan Scott
Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

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Olympic 4×200 free relay champion Duncan Scott has withdrawn from the World Championships in Budapest to focus on his recovery following Covid.

The Briton, who won relay gold among four medals in Tokyo last year, announced on 1 June he had Covid-19.

Now he will miss the worlds dealing another blow to British prospects at the Duna Arena with the team already without Adam Peaty, Kathleen Dawson and Max Litchfield.

He posted to social media that he was “absolutely devastated,” adding that “Since returning from covid I’ve been really struggling with high intensity! Now it’s time to put my health first and focus on recover.”

British Swimming performance director Chris Spice responded to the absences of Scott and his University of Stirling training mate Dawson, who pulled out last month to continue rehab on a back injury, saying:

“We are so disappointed for Duncan and Kathleen. They both enjoyed brilliant Olympic Games less than 12 months ago, and we know what crucial members of the British team they would have been again in Budapest.

“For them not to be able to see how they would have performed when at their best on the international stage once again is such a shame – but we also know they will come back even stronger after their respective periods of recovery.

“They have our full support as they step back up in intensity, and we will be backing them as always once they are back in a competition pool.”

Scott: ‘A Skinnier Version of Michael Phelps’

16th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials

Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr

Coached by Steven Tigg at the University of Stirling, his recovery will be closely followed by Team Scotland with the Commonwealth Games starting on 27 July.

Scott had qualified for both IMs and the 200 free in the individual events plus the men’s medley and 4×200 free relays following a stellar British Championships in April.

James Guy, who won Olympic 4×2 gold alongside Scott, described his teammate as “a skinnier version of Michael Phelps” following a masterclass in versatility and excellence.

His winning time of 4:09.18 in the 400IM was a Commonwealth record and eclipsed the 4:09.42 in which Chase Kalisz won the Olympic title in Tokyo.

The 25-year-old also won the short medley in 1:56.08 and led home Olympic champion Tom Dean in the 200 free in 1:45.42.

Scott won silver behind Dean in the 200 free in Tokyo and was second in the 200IM and his absence will be keenly felt given he was a multiple medal prospect.

So too in the relays with the men’s medley already shorn of Peaty who withdrew with a fractured foot last month.

The quartet will now be without 50% of the men who won silver in Tokyo and gold at the last worlds in Gwangju in 2019 where Scott delivered the second-fastest split in history with his time of 46.14 propelling him past Nathan Adrian on the anchor leg as Britain won an astonishing gold.

He also swam the final leg of the 4×2, his 1:43.45 anchoring the team home in a European record of 6:58.58, 0.03secs outside the world record of 6:58.55 set by the United States at the super-suited worlds in 2009.

Their margin of victory over the ROC in Japan was 3.23secs with Russia banned following the invasion and ongoing war against Ukraine.

Joe Litchfield was fourth behind Scott, Dean and Guy at the British trials in 1:47.66 with Matt Richards who swam the third leg in Tokyo preselected.

However, neither Cameron Kurle – fifth in Sheffield – nor Calum Jarvis, who swam the heats in Tokyo, have been selected for Budapest.


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