Scott Does Not Want To Be Defined By Sun Protest As He Continues Tokyo Preparation In Glasgow

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It is little more than four months since Duncan Scott made a very public stand for what he believes is right when he refused to share the podium or shake hands with Sun Yang at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

An enraged Sun unleashed a verbal volley in the Scot’s direction before the 200m freestyle medal ceremony in which the Chinese won gold and Scott was elevated to joint bronze alongside Russian Martin Malyutin following the disqualification of original winner Danas Rapsys of Lithuania.

Sun then confronted Scott after the ceremony, the Briton remaining calm in the face of finger-wagging provocation as the Chinese declared “you’re the loser, I’m the winner”.

The entire episode immediately went viral with Scott’s courage in his convictions catapulting him beyond the sport and into the wider public arena.

Swimmers past and present, including four-time Olympic champion Dawn Fraser and triple world gold medallist Mitch Larkin, backed Scott’s stance which followed a similar protest by their fellow Australian Mack Horton following the 400m freestyle.

Plaudits were not confined to swimming with the likes of double Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson also praising Scott before telling him to “go win some more medals”.

And so he did and in some style too as he produced the second fastest split in history of 46.14secs to anchor Great Britain to gold in the 4x100m medley relay, overhauling Nathan Adrian in the process.

Only Jason Lezak has gone faster – his 46.06 anchor leg for the USA 4x100m freestyle squad at Beijing 2008 ultimately ensuring Michael Phelps would leave China with a haul of eight gold medals.

Scott’s anchor leg was something to take the breath away, the swimmer seeming to skim atop the water as he overcame the deficit of 1.11secs Adrian had held.

It increased his world titles haul to five medals, three of them gold, to hang alongside his two Olympic silvers, six European and seven Commonwealth medals in a trophy cabinet that is already creaking at the age of 22.

So an athlete with apparent limitless potential and a man of principle and one who would be “gutted” if he was remembered for his podium protest alone.

He told The Herald: “I would like to think that, from what I have achieved so far, there are particular highlights that outweigh what happened on the podium.

“I guess that is from my view. A lot of the time, I forget that even occurred. I am only 22 – if that is the thing that defines my career, I would be gutted. I don’t think it is, though, and I’d like to think that, if I retired today, there would be many things that are spoken about other than just that moment.”

Adam Peaty (top) and Duncan Scott of Great Britain celebrate after winning in the men's 4x100m Medley Relay Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 28 July 2019.

Photo Courtesy: PATRICK B. KRAEMER

The University of Stirling athlete has been busy of late. A vital member of the London Roar team in the International Swimming League, Scott was their last man standing as he just failed to make the skins final as Energy Standard emerged victorious in the European derby at the London Aquatics Centre in late November.

His programme also included the 200m and 400m individual medley with first and second-place finishes respectively.

Next up are the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow at the Tollcross pool where Scott first tasted international success at 17, winning silver as part of the Scotland men’s 4x200m freestyle relay squad at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

As in London, Scott will take on the 200m and 400m individual medleys while also contesting the 100IM and 100m and 200m freestyle plus unconfirmed relays.

A demanding programme indeed especially when you consider he is part of the London Roar team that will fly to Las Vegas for the inaugural ISL finishes.

It is, he says, all part of his preparation as he eyes Tokyo 2020 eight months hence.

“Realistically, everything, like most swimmers, is tailored towards the pinnacle of our sport – the Olympic Games.

“The last couple of years, everything has had to do with challenging myself and trying to expose myself and see what happens to me under immense fatigue or what happens under stress and pressure. From that, we can see what we need to do.”

Scott has two bronze medals in the 100m and 200m freestyle from the last edition in Copenhagen and does not feel he is as skilled in the short-course pool as others.

However, it is another cog in his Tokyo preparation and also mindful of the finals being held in the morning.

He said: “It will be good to expose myself against some of the best in the world. I want to come out of the European Championships with an ideology of knowing what I want to do to prepare to swim fast in the morning.

“That is what it is going to be next year. You are going to have to be ready to swim fast in the morning and I want to know my recovery strategy during the day to then be able to come back in the evening under quite a lot of stress and still perform well.

“It is about doing that on back-to-back days. I think the Europeans is a great opportunity to do that.”

It will be Scott’s third international competition at Tollcross after his Commonwealth debut was followed by the 2018 European Championships where he won three golds and one silver medal.

Given he also competed at the Europeans in London in 2016, Scott has had quite the swim in home waters.

“I am really looking forward to competing back in Glasgow. I have been really lucky in the sense that I have had quite a lot of home-crowd competitions in my career,” he said.

 

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