World Championships Doha: Duncan Scott On Ted Lasso, Paris Relay Quest & The ‘Inspiring’ Tom Brady

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

World Championships Doha: Duncan Scott On Ted Lasso, Doha Relay Quest & The ‘Inspiring’ Tom Brady

There’s a much-quoted line from the TV comedy series Ted Lasso which runs: “Do you know what the happiest animal on earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? It’s got a 10 second memory. Be a goldfish.”

Duncan Scott recalls it as he looks ahead to the World Championships in Doha, the first of three major competitions in less than six months.

From worlds on to the British Olympic trials in early April and, as long as they’re safely negotiated, Paris 2024.

Given the magnitude of what lies beyond, Scott won’t be tapered for Doha so, he says, we’ll be seeing the “in-season Duncan”.


Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Hence the invocation of Lasso – an American college football coach hired to manage a British football team – the ‘goldfish’ line meaning to quickly move on from perceived mistakes rather than lingering on them.

In Scott’s case, that would be that whatever the outcome in Doha, to parcel it up, put it to one side and move forward to the trials.

Scott said:

“It’s (Ted Lasso) really good, I’ve just seen a thing where he’s like you need to be like a goldfish.

“And that’s probably what these worlds are like, just because it doesn’t really matter…with how close the Olympics are to it, it’s just kind of forget whatever happens during it.

“You know, whether it’s good or bad, because the Olympics is right around the corner.

“And the trials are right around the corner for me as well.”

An Unexpected World Championships

The 26-year-old never expected to compete in Doha but the DQ of the men’s 4×100 freestyle squad in Fukuoka following Jacob Whittle’s false start has necessitated a trip to Qatar.

Tom Dean and Matt Richards – the Olympic and world 200 free champions – will, along with Whittle, likely make up the quartet with Scott.

Their quest begins on Sunday morning when they go in the outside lane of the second prelim alongside Mexico.

Scott – coached by Steve Tigg at the University of Stirling – talks about a need to “put that wrong right.”

Beyond that, Scott is the fastest seed into the 200IM with his 1:55.95 en-route to silver in Fukuoka with Shaine Casas – fourth last year – next swiftest.

Scott is also fifth into the 200 free which is headed by Hwang Sunwoo and his 1:44.40 winning time at the Asian Games in September 2023, the South Korean having won silver and bronze at the last two World Championships.

Since his worlds debut at Kazan 2015 where he won gold as a prelim swimmer with the 4×2, Scott has claimed a further seven medals.

18th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials

Duncan Scott: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

But Doha presents a completely different proposition given its place in the calendar and Scott’s 2024 priorities.

He said:

“You know, I think it’s going to be quite difficult to judge what the meet’s going to be like.

“I’m kind of looking at, like, will I be able to make finals?

“I don’t know what shape everyone else is going to be in.

“I know what shape I’ll be in. So it’s very much going to be more in-season Duncan rather than tapered Duncan.”

Scott spent time training at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona, in January which followed the European Short-Course Championships in December, where he added a further two golds in the 200IM and 4×50 free relay to his armoury.

The likes of Leon Marchand and David Popovici – to name but two – are missing from the 2IM and 200 free respectively with Scott unable to gauge his opposition at the World Championships.

He said:

“I’ve got no idea who’s going to go to this.

“You know, the Australians and Americans, their trials are a lot later so they might go a little bit more all in, but at the same time, you’ve got no idea. So yeah, I think we’ll just need to see what it’s like when once I’m there, but it’s still very much going to be like, ‘what can I learn from my swim? Or for April?’”

Team Sports, NFL & Tom Brady’s Work Ethic

Scott – with 11 relay medals across Olympics, European and World Championships – is an integral member of the British 4×200 squad who won gold in Tokyo and the Fukuoka worlds.

Mixed freestyle medals from the worlds and Europeans are also among his armoury while he swam the anchor leg as Britain claimed a memorable medley relay gold at Gwangju 2019 where his split of 46.14 was the second-fastest all-time as he came past Nathan Adrian in the final metres.

Should the 4×100 free quartet qualify, they’ll expect to make a strong tilt at the podium, Scott saying:

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of stronger relays ever in the time I’ve swam for Britain so I think that’s really special in itself.”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Duncan Scott of Great Britain and Michael Phelps of United States are seen during the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Duncan Scott & Michael Phelps, Rio 2016: Photo Courtesy: Ian MacNicol, Scottish Swimming

Richards too has spoken of the camaraderie among the group, telling Swimming World:

“I think that definitely means there’s that sense of ease when you’re in the call room together, when you’re in the prep space together, when you’re warming up together.

“You know each other so well, we know what we all need and that means we can help each other get the best out of ourselves to come together as a quartet.”

Growing up, Scott was a big fan of team sports and “loved doing” them while at Strathallan School in Perthshire, northern Scotland.

Of particular interest is the NFL and Tom Brady, the former quarterback who played for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a glittering 23-year career.

He said:

“One of the things I really like about NFL is that they play no matter what. It was minus 28 the other day at one of the games, which is kind of mad.

“I’m interested in the way that different teams operate and the way that coaches can get people together or teams to do different things.

“I can take little pieces of it for myself.

“Since Tom Brady’s retired, he’s opened up more around what he was like and that’s really special because he’s someone who wasn’t particularly talented or gifted in a physical sense.

“His work ethic and things like that are quite inspiring. There’s always stories you hear from world-class athletes about going the extra mile or looking at the finer details.”








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