Ross Murdoch “still dreams” about a return to the pool, as swim star graduates from the University of Stirling

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Ross poses next to loch in graduation gown holding medals

Six-time Commonwealth Games medallist Ross Murdoch today bid farewell to the University of Stirling – his training base for the past decade – after graduating with an MSc Sport Management. 

The 28-year-old’s graduation follows his recent departure from the University’s high performance swim programme – which supported him through two Olympics and three Commonwealth Games – as he embarks upon a new career. However, speaking on graduation day, Murdoch – who came out of retirement to win three medals at this year’s Commonwealth Games – refused to rule out another sensational return to the pool in the future, admitting: “I still dream about swimming every night.” 

Asked whether he would consider competing at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria 2026, he said: “I’ve not officially retired but I haven’t been training in the pool for several weeks. For me, if I still feel this type of fire in eight or nine months, I could consider the possibility of another Commonwealth Games. But training for a Games is a difficult job and I need to wait and see with everything else – and whether it balances with my life after sport. 

Ross poses next to loch in graduation gown holding medals
Ross Murdoch
Six-time Commonwealth Games medallist
The University has been a very big part of my life and, for the last 10 years, I’ve been very privileged to say that this is my home.

“A Commonwealth Games is a massive thing; it really does feel like a family – that feeling of swimming for Scotland, there’s just nothing else like it.” 

Murdoch, from Balloch, Dunbartonshire, joined the University in 2012, funded through the national scholarship programme Winning Students. After nine successful years, he briefly retired from swimming in December last year – but lasted only 11 weeks out the pool before deciding to dive back into training ahead of the Birmingham Games, where he ended up scooping three bronze medals with phenomenal performances for Team Scotland.  

“For me, swimming for Scotland was the biggest thing,” Murdoch said. “It was always my main dream and I’ve gone on to compete at two Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games, and numerous World and European Championships.  

“I’m so proud of myself that I’ve managed to achieve that. It’s quite a nice poetic end that this year I was competing for Scotland at the Birmingham Games; and I got three medals which were a complete surprise.” 

Ross in the swimming pool wearing his graduation gown and clutching a University scroll underwater

Breaststroke swimmer Murdoch announced his arrival on the international stage with a gold medal at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, before going onto compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics and winning a silver medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. He competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year before his hattrick of bronze medals in Birmingham this summer. He has also experienced medal success at the World and European Championships. 

He attributes his career success to the “fantastic” support from the University and its partners Scottish Swimming, the Institute of Sport, and British Swimming.  

He said: “The University has been a very big part of my life and, for the last 10 years, I’ve been very privileged to say that this is my home.  

“The way that our coaching staff have set up the swim programme ensures that everyone gets what they need; everyone’s work is really tailored and unique to them – and I think that just helps gets the best out of everybody each season and increases the longevity of the swimmers. 

“I believe that’s why the athletes that we have here don’t just swim for one cycle – they swim for two or three Olympic cycles, and I think that’s only going to improve in the future.” 


Murdoch admitted it was a challenge balancing his swimming and studies, but praised the support he received from his swim coaches Steven Tigg and Bradley Hay, and the academic staff at Stirling. He said: “They were always there to support me, no matter what. I am delighted that I’ve done well at the University in both a sporting and academic sense.” 

Murdoch is now pursuing a career in policing – but is also keen to remain active in sport and hopes to support the next generation of athletes. He added: “I have built up quite a lot of experience over the years – and I’ve never been one to learn the easy way. I think somebody who has taken a few hard knocks and learned the hard way is often better to hear from, so I’d love to be able to pass anything like that on to anyone else.” 


Steven Tigg, Head Performance Swimming Coach at the University of Stirling, said: “Ross will forever be fondly remembered for his Commonwealth Games victory in Glasgow 2014. Almost 10 years on, and it is still synonymous with great Scottish sporting moments.

“Ross’ contribution to swimming in Stirling didn’t begin there but, the moment became one of the crucial catalysts in enabling the swim programme to grow and develop into a proven world class environment, where Ross went on to further global successes. To remain competitive internationally, as Ross did for so long, is testament to his love of the sport and Stirling itself.

“We are delighted Ross is adding an academic degree to his illustrious list of achievements, we know how proud he is of it and look forward to what comes next.”

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