Athletes from the University of Stirling’s high performance swim programme made their mark at the British Championships this past week, winning 10 medals as they went head-to-head with the UK’s best at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
Double Olympic-medallist, Duncan Scott, led the way as he became the first Brit to swim the 100m freestyle under 48 seconds, setting a new British record en route to gold. The second-year business and sport studies student also broke the Scottish record when finishing second in the 200m freestyle and also took home bronze in the 200m individual medley as well as the 100m and 200m butterfly, the latter in which he was pipped to second place by teammate and Stirling Masters student, Cameron Brodie.
Commonwealth champion Ross Murdoch also enjoyed a successful week, winning gold in the 200m breaststroke and silver in the 100m of the same discipline.
Meanwhile, first-year scholarship athlete Kathleen Dawson underlined her burgeoning reputation, posting consideration times for next year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast as she took silver in the 50m and 100m backstroke.
The performances reinforce a strong start to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle for the Stirling athletes who also had their sights set on qualifying for other upcoming major championships.
As well as the 2018 Scottish Commonwealth Games Team, the British Championships also doubled as the selection event for this summer’s FINA World Championships in Budapest and the World University Summer Games in Taipei. The University of Stirling will be represented at both events, with Brodie selected for the British team heading to Taipei, while Scott, Murdoch and Dawson have been announced in the World Championships squad. The trio will be joined on their trip to Hungary by the University of Stirling’s high performance coaches Ben Higson and Stephen Tigg whose efforts and results have been recognised with places on the British coaching team.
Commenting on the British Championships and resultant GB selections, Stirling head performance coach Ben Higson said: “It was fantastic to have so many swimmers from the programme at the British Championships and putting in a host of competitive performances.
“Our guys want to be the best they can be and the number of medals won is a reflection of the daily graft they put in and just reward for the sacrifices and commitment they make to compete at this level.
“Although there will be some disappointed Stirling athletes who didn’t make the teams for Budapest or Taipei, we know everyone is delighted for Duncan, Ross, Kathleen and Cameron and we’re confident they have the ability and drive to do something special at the championships in the summer.
“For Steve and myself, we are incredibly proud to be involved with the British Team and grateful to the University for its support and encouragement and the swimmers’ dedication and professionalism which have helped us get here. As coaches, it is a very exciting opportunity and we look forward to experiencing a new environment and working with an exceptionally talented group of athletes.”
The FINA World Championships take place in Budapest, Hungary from 14 – 30 July 2017. The World University Summer Games will be held in Taipei, Chinese Taipei from 19 – 30 August 2017.