Ross Murdoch changed the script and stole the show, winning Gold from team-mate Michael Jamieson in an electrifying 200m Breaststroke final at Tollcross International Swimming Centre. Hannah Miley also set Tollcross alight with a perfectly judged 400m Individual Medley to successfully defend her Commonwealth crown and secure Scotland’s first Gold medal in the pool.
In an eagerly anticipated Breaststroke final Jamieson was hotly tipped to overcome the nerves which had plagued him during the morning heats. Both he and Murdoch started confidently and there was little to separate them at the half way mark. Indeed it was Christian Sprenger of Australia, the only swimmer from out-with the Home Countries, who took an early lead, a lead that was soon whittled down by Murdoch and Jamieson, and from here on in, it was a two-man race.
Murdoch, who before this was considered more of a 100m specialist, looked the stronger of the two, but only managed to move away from Jamieson in the final 50m, coming home to take Gold in 2:07.30, a new Games record. Jamieson had to settle for Silver in 2:08.40, while England’s Andrew Willis won Bronze in 2:09.87. Scotland’s Calum Tait finished in 5th place, lowering his personal best to 2:10.21.
After an emotional medal ceremony, Murdoch said,
“I still can’t believe that just happened. The last 50m when I had that many people cheering me on, it was the best feeling ever and something I will remember for the rest of my life.I like being the underdog and this result gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the week."
Murdoch also paid tribute to his team-mate Jamieson, adding, “He had a tough end to last season and this season has also been tough for him. He knows what it is like to perform at this level and he is still an idol in my eyes.”
An upset Jamieson returned the compliment telling the assembled journalists that, “the better man won on the night.”
Holding back the emotion Jamieson continued, “I don’t know what I would have changed about my preparation coming into this meet. I’ve worked harder than ever and I couldn’t have done any more.
“But tonight is not about me, it’s about Ross. He deserved to win tonight as he was the one who stepped up to the mark and is now the fastest man in the world this year for the event. He should enjoy every moment of this.”
Early in the session, Hannah Miley gave the Scottish fans their first reason for celebration with a resounding victory in the 400m Individual Medley. Holding her own in what she considers her weakest leg, the butterfly, Miley was shoulder to shoulder with nearest rival Aimee Willmott of England for most of the race. Willmott was just ahead heading into the final 100m freestyle when Miley seemed to find another gear and, with 50m to go, the race was over, Miley reclaiming her crown in 4:31.76, a new Games record.
A jubilant Miley said after the race,
“I did not expect to go that fast and it hurt a lot. But it’s good to know that I can produce a result like that. I’ve been stuck around the 4:32 barrier for a long time, so a time of 4:31.76 puts me in real contention for World Championships when more of the big guns are competing.
“I will now go and watch my race and analyse it. For me my training is built around different components: swimming, fitness, land training, nutrition and psychology. It’s just about finding the right balance and getting each of them right on the day.
“I have dreamt about this moment, but I didn’t expect to cry on the podium. It was like playing out a film in my mind; seeing all the sacrifices my family and I have made to get to this moment. I wear my heart on my sleeve and that swim was for my dad, my family and it was for me.”
In other events, Dan Wallace, Robbie Renwick and Stephen Milne finished the final of the 400m Freestyle in 5th, 7th and 8th places respectively, while Kathryn Johnstone, Corrie Scott and Andrea Strachan all progressed to tomorrow's 50m Breaststoke final. Craig McNally made it safely through to tomorrow's 100m Backstroke final, while Ryan Bennett just missed out, finishing 9th overall.
The quartet of Rachel Masson, Sian Harkin, Lucy Hope and Caitlin McClatchey finished 5th in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay, an event that was won by Australia in a new World record time of 3:30.09.
Murdoch and Jamieson are both due back tomorrow to contest the 100m Breaststroke event along with Craig Benson, while Robbie Renwick starts the defence of the 200m Freestyle crown he won in Delhi. Dan Wallace will also be back in action alongside Lewis Smith and Ross Muir in the 400m Individual Medley, while Kathleen Dawson and Sian Harkin will compete in the 100m Backstroke and 50m Freestyle respectively.
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