A stunning performance from University of Stirling swimming sensation Duncan Scott helped Great Britain to win 4x100m medley gold at the World Championships in South Korea.
Scott, 22, was almost a half-second quicker than his competitors as he hunted down the USA and Russia on the final leg of the relay – leading the GB team to a European record of 3:28.10.
Scott swam the freestyle leg of the relay, following Luke Greenbank (backstroke), Adam Peaty (breaststroke), and James Guy (butterfly). At the final turn, he trailed by 0.84 seconds but managed to pull back the deficit by producing a split of 46.14s – the 100m freestyle world record is 47.05s.
The USA took silver (3:28.45) and Russia bronze (3:28.81), with the triumph marking the USA’s first ever defeat in this event at a World Championships.
Speaking after the win, Scott said: “I can’t say I thought I had that split in me. I’m sort of speechless I’ve been able to put that race together.
“The boys put me in position and I just used adrenaline to come home. It was great to dethrone the Americans — I’ve got to put that down as my best swim.”
Scott – who has now won a trio of world relay golds from successive championships – had taken bronze in the 200m freestyle earlier in the week – his first individual medal at the World Championships.
In what was a very close race, Lithuanian, Danas Rapšys touched home first but his celebration was short-lived as he was disqualified for a false start. Gold was therefore awarded to Sun Yang of China in 1:44.93, with Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto winning silver in 1:45.22. Scott was promoted to bronze along with Russia’s Martin Malyutin as they both touched home in 1:45.63.
Speaking after that race, Scott said: “It is a big step forward knowing I can compete at the top level. I’ve done it at the Europeans and the Commonwealth Games, but never at the Worlds.
“My immediate reaction is thinking how I could have done better, but that’s just who I am. I’m sure once the emotions go out of it and in a couple of hour’s time, I’ll be feeling proud.”
Scott – who is going into his final year of a degree in business and sport – is part of the High Performance Swimming Programme at Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.
Scott returned from the 2016 Olympics in Rio with two silver medals (4x200m Freestyle, 4x100m Medley Relay); and from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with one gold (100m Freestyle), one silver (200m Individual Medley), and four bronze (200m Freestyle, 200m Butterfly, 4x100m Freestyle Relay, 4x200m Freestyle Relay). Four years earlier, he won silver in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Prior to Gwangju, he had two World Championship golds to his name (4x200m Freestyle Relay in 2015 and 2017) and one silver (4x100m Medley Relay in 2017), as well as five European Championship golds.
Fellow Stirling athletes Scott McLay, Ross Murdoch and Aimee Willmott, and High Performance Swimming Coach Steve Tigg, were also part of the Great Britain team in Gwangju.
Gwangju 2019 is the 18th edition of the FINA World Aquatic Championships and saw world titles contested across all of the aquatic disciplines.