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Heroes’ welcome for returning Gold Coast stars

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The University of Stirling’s top athletes have been given a heroes’ welcome on their return to campus after starring at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The group brought home 11 medals from Australia, with third-year swimming scholar, Duncan Scott, becoming the most decorated Scottish athlete at a single Games, as he won six medals at the Optus Aquatic Centre. 

The 20-year-old-won bronze in the 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 4x100m freestyle relay, alongside Stirling teammates Scott McLay and Craig McLean, before going on to claim a sensational gold in the 100m freestyle, a further bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay and silver in the 200m individual medley. 

Commenting on his success, Scott said: "Gregor Tait used to hold the title of the most successful athlete at a single Games and he was amazing for the sport: he's helped all the swimmers that are performing now to come through.

"I've been a World Champion as part of a relay team but to be Commonwealth Champion individually is great." 

Other medals in the pool for Stirling athletes included Aimee Willmott, 25, who landed England’s first gold medal of the Games in the 400m individual medley, while Ross Murdoch, 24, won silver for Scotland in the 200m breaststroke. If entered as its own team, the University would have finished fifth in the Games’ swimming medal standings.

Principle, Professor Gerry McCormac with athletes

University of Stirling Principal, Professor Gerry McCormac (far right), and Director of Sport, Cathy Gallagher (far left), welcomed the scholar athletes back to campus.

Out of the pool, Stirling graduate, Marc Austin, 24, put in a hugely impressive performance to take bronze in the triathlon.

Welcoming the athletes back to campus, University of Stirling Principal, Professor Gerry McCormac, said: “I am delighted and immensely proud of our athletes who have returned from Australia with two gold, two silver and seven bronze medals.

“The achievements are testament to the hard work and dedication of our athletes and coaches here at Stirling, and, once again, re-emphasises our position as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.”

Steve Tigg with athletes

Head Performance Swimming Coach, Steven Tigg (centre), joined the athletes in Australia as part of the Team Scotland coaching group.

Eight swimmers who train at the National Swimming Academy, based at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, were selected for the Games. Scott, Willmott, Murdoch, McLay and McLean, were joined by Scotland’s Kathleen Dawson and Craig Benson, as well as Northern Ireland’s Calum Bain. All are coached by Steven Tigg, Head Performance Swimming Coach who was also part of the Team Scotland coaching group in Australia, supported by Bradley Hay and Josh Williamson.

Stirling’s Grant Sheldon also competed alongside Austin in the triathlon.

The athletes are now back in full training and preparing for demanding summer schedules, with the swimmers working towards the European Championships in Glasgow whilst the triathletes’ focus will be on World and European Series events.

  • Background information

    Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence

    The Scottish Government designated the University of Stirling as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in 2008. Our mission is to deliver the best for Scottish sport through the powerful and inspirational combination of sport and education. We are at the heart of Scottish sport, preparing athletes to perform on the world stage, enabling students to develop their skill sets for excellent careers and producing innovative research to improve the health of the nation. Our sport-centred campus brings together the people shaping Scottish sport, creating a critical mass of sporting expertise and excellence.

    Find out more here.

    Twitter and Facebook: @SportatStirling

    University of Stirling

    The University of Stirling is ranked fifth in Scotland and 40th in the UK for research intensity in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Stirling is committed to providing education with a purpose and carrying out research which has a positive impact on communities across the globe – addressing real issues, providing solutions and helping to shape society.

    Interdisciplinary in its approach, Stirling’s research informs its teaching curriculum and facilitates opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration between staff, students, industry partners and the wider community.

    The University’s scenic central Scotland campus – complete with a loch, castle and golf course – is home to more than 14,000 students and 1500 staff representing around 120 nationalities. This includes an ever-expanding base for postgraduate study.

    stir.ac.uk @stiruni

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