Olympic dreams become a reality for university athletes

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Rio 2016 is finally upon us. At midnight tonight, 10,500 athletes from 207 teams will see the 28th Olympic Games officially opened at the historic Maracana Stadium, launching what promises to be a spectacular three weeks of sport. Amongst those competing is a quartet of swimmers from the University of Stirling, with all of them harbouring hopes of a medal. Here’s a little more about those looking to “bleed green” in Rio:

Ross Murdoch

Prior to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the name Ross Murdoch might have only resonated with seasoned swimming fans. However, by winning gold in the 200m breaststroke – and providing photographers with one of the defining images of the games

Ross Murdoch, seconds after claiming gold at Glasgow 2014 (photo – BBC)

(right)– Murdoch became a household name and the poster boy of Scottish swimming in one fell swoop. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, winning bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the World Championships in Kazan in 2015 before claiming a full house of medals at the European Championships in London earlier this year. All of this, and he still had time to give an interview to Brig


Murdoch will compete in the 100m breaststroke, which gets underway on August 6.

Robbie Renwick

A third Olympics for Renwick (photo – UoS swimming)


The veteran of the team, Rio 2016 will mark Renwick’s third Olympic Games. Approaching his tenth year as part of British Swimming’s elite programme, the Abu Dhabi-born competitor won his first international medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne at the age of just 17, taking home silver as part of Scotland’s 4x200m freestyle relay squad. Four years later, Renwick won gold in the 200m freestyle at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and has since gone on to claim a World Championship title as part of the victorious British 4x200m freestyle relay team in Kazan last year.

Renwick will once again compete in the 4x200m freestyle relay, beginning with the heats on August 9

Craig Benson

Four years ago in London, Craig Benson was the youngest member of the Great Britain swimming team. That didn’t hold him back, however, as the then-18-year-old performed brilliantly to qualify for the 100m breaststroke final, eventually finishing a respectable sixth. Since then, he has continued to impress in his development, narrowly missing out

Benson impressed four years ago (photo – Scotsman)

on a medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, finishing fourth in the 100m breaststroke, before claiming bronze in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the 2015 World University Games. Earlier this year, Benson claimed his first international title as part of the 4×100 mixed medley relay team at the European Championships in London, and the Livingston man will be eyeing at least a repeat of his previous Olympic showing this time around


Benson will line up in the 200m breaststroke, with heats getting underway on August 9.

Duncan Scott

It’s been a stellar career so far for Duncan Scott (photo – swimvortex)


The youngest of Stirling’s Olympians, Duncan Scott has already had a taste of success at the highest level. After claiming a silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay at Glasgow 2014 – his senior international debut -, the 19-year-old was a three-time gold medallist at the inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015, claiming victory in both the 100m and 200m freestyle events as well as helping Great Britain to 4x100m freestyle relay success. Since then, the success has just kept coming for Scott, with world and European gold
medals as part of Great Britain relay squads. Making his debut at an Olympic Games in Rio, he’ll be hoping his golden run continues this summer.

Scott will be competing in the 100m freestyle, beginning on August 9.

University alumni also in Rio

It’s not just current Stirling students that will be representing their country in Brazil. Former tennis scholar Colin Fleming will be competing in the men’s doubles tennis – partnering Davis Cup team-mate Dominic Inglot -, whilst recent Wimbledon champion and former tennis scholar Gordon Reid will attempt to add Paralympic glory to an already stellar year.

Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1924, and a former Stirling student will be hoping to bring home a medal. Catriona Matthew will represent Great Britain alongside Charley Hull, hoping to better her fifth place finish at the recent Open Championship.

And whilst they may not have a direct link to the university, keep an eye on the local representation in Rio. Dunblane’s most famous set of brother will once again be going for Olympic glory, with Andy Murray looking to retain his title from four years ago in the men’s singles tennis competition, before partnering brother Jamie in the men’s doubles, whilst Central Athletic Club’s Andrew Butchart will be competing in the 5,000m.

The countdown is almost over. Let the Games begin!

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