University of Stirling swimmers have returned from the 2022 Commonwealth Games with a record 16 medals.
Stirling swimming sensation Duncan Scott became Scotland's most decorated Commonwealth athlete of all time as he won six medals in Birmingham - two gold and four bronze - to take his total across three Games to 13.
Also in the pool, Ross Murdoch won three bronze medals and Stephen Milne two, while there were also medals for Cameron Kurle (silver), Craig McNally, Mark Szaranek, Toni Shaw, and Martyn Walton (all bronze).
In addition to the 16, two further medals were won by recent graduates of the University's sports scholarship programme. Judoka Rachel Tytler, who left the University last year, and cyclist Finn Crockett, who graduated this summer, both won bronze in their events.
The University of Stirling - Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence since 2008 - had a record number of athletes selected for this year's Games. Twenty current athletes travelled to Birmingham, as well as six recent graduates - and the medal haul far surpasses the 11 won at the Gold Coast Games in 2018.
University of Stirling Executive Director of Sport, Cathy Gallagher, said: “The results and performances over the Games have been fantastic and it’s great to see such camaraderie amongst the athletes. The support being shown across the different teams is what the Commonwealth Games are all about and seeing so many world-class athletes compete in such a positive environment is a brilliant advert for sport.
“With so many University athletes at the Games, there is a real buzz around campus and the city of Stirling and everyone is taking a lot of pride in their achievements.”
||200m Individual Medley (gold); 200m Freestyle (gold); 400m Individual Medley (bronze); 100m Freestyle (bronze); 4x200m Freestyle Relay (bronze); 4x100m Medley Relay (bronze)
||200m Breaststroke (bronze); 50m Breaststroke (bronze); 4x100m Medley Relay (bronze)
||4x200m Freestyle Relay (bronze); 4x100m Medley Relay (bronze)
||4x100m Freestyle Relay (silver)
||4x100m Medley Relay (bronze)
||4x200m Freestyle Relay (bronze)
||100m Freestyle Para Sport S9 (bronze)
||4x100m Medley Relay (bronze)
|Rachel Tytler (recent graduate)
||Judo Under 78kg (bronze)
|Finn Crockett (recent graduate)
||Cycling Road Race (bronze)
Scott won gold - setting a new Games Record of 1:56.88 in the process - in the 200m Individual Medley, before securing another bronze in the 100m Medley Relay with fellow Stirling swimmers McNally and Murdoch, alongside Team Scotland teammate Evan Jones. The win also marked a Scottish Record too, coming home in 3:35.11 and narrowly beating the record previously set at the Gold Coast. Stirling athletes Walton and Milne were also awarded bronze medals having raced in the heat.
Scott had already won 100m Freestyle bronze before producing a phenomenal anchor leg to secure bronze in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay earlier at the Games alongside Stirling duo Milne and Szaranek, and Scotland teammate Jones.
He also claimed gold in the 200m Freestyle after pipping GB teammate, Tom Dean, in a reverse of last year’s Olympic final, before going again to win bronze in the 400m Individual Medley later in the same session.
Record-breaking Duncan Scott (Photo: Team Scotland)
Following a disrupted lead-up to the Games, Scott was happy to be back on the podium. He said: “I wouldn’t have done the double if I wasn’t confident, I know my own ability that is why I trusted myself, the process and more importantly I trusted the coach.
"I have so much trust in what Steve says and what we have done for the last few years. He has got a lot of faith in my ability, and I just had to go out there and do it.
"I like to race quite a lot and this year didn’t present that opportunity. I was gutted to miss the Worlds. I love being part of those team relays as well, I am really happy to be here and do what I can.”
Toni Shaw takes bronze. (Photo: Team Scotland)
Shaw and Murdoch
Shaw and Murdoch secured Stirling's first medals of the Games with a bronze each in the S9 100m Freestyle and 200m Breaststroke. Kurle also bagged himself a silver in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay with Team England, having swum in the heats.
Competing at her second Games, Business Studies student Shaw reacted to her win: “I am absolutely buzzing and I do not have any words; I was most excited to get one of the toy bulls. I knew it was going to be really close with so many other girls with a similar time, so I am glad to be on the right side of the finish line this time.
"My family haven’t seen me race in person for such a long time, tonight was really special.
"It was such a competitive race and so close, but I am happy with how it turned out, and seeing Katie (Shanahan) get a medal earlier on, really spurred us on to do well."
The excitement didn't stop there as Murdoch went on to win bronze in the 50m Breaststroke in another gutsy performance.
Following a break from the sport in December, Murdoch’s success has been a highlight of the Games. Speaking after that win, Murdoch acknowledged the support he’d received on his return: “I just want to say thanks very much to the guys at University of Stirling, first and foremost, for allowing me the time to get the ‘heid’ back, so I can keep it!
"So thanks very much to those guys for letting me get it, and find it again, and find the love for my sport, and welcome me back to the ‘trenches’ with open arms. To Scottish Swimming for letting me come back as well and believing in me. And to the Institute of Sport for the absolutely unbelievable support they have given me since 2011.
"Standing here at a third Commonwealth Games, it honestly doesn’t get better.”
Judoka Rachel Tytler on the podium. (Photo: Team Scotland)
Outside of swimming, Stirling graduate and judoka Tytler earned her first Games medal, securing a bronze by ippon within the first 30 seconds of her bout against Canada's Coralie Godbout. And in cycling, fellow graduate Crockett produced a magnificent sprint finish in the road race event to win bronze and his first major medal.