by Craig Wright
Duncan Scott has become Scotland’s most successful athlete at a single Commonwealth Games, after the University of Stirling swimmer recorded his fourth medal of Gold Coast 2018.
The 20-year-old claimed a superb gold medal in the 100m freestyle, producing a time of 48.02 seconds to storm to first Commonwealth title and become the first ever Scottish winner in the event.
Scott then swam the fastest leg of any swimmer to help his team-mates to a bronze medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay, with the Scottish squad of Scott, Stephen Milne, Dan Wallace and Mark Szaranek coming home behind Australia and England to take the third spot on the podium.
The two medals took Scott’s tally on the Gold Coast to five, having also earned bronze medals in the 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay, the latter alongside Stirling team-mates Scott McLay and Craig McLean in the Scottish squad.
Speaking to the BBC following his 100m freestyle gold, Scott was delighted with his achievement.
“I did what I do best in bringing it home,” he said.
“I’m absolutely delighted my family’s here. It’s a dream for me for them to see that. I’m so happy.
“So far, so good. It’s very exciting for two years’ time after beating the Olympic champion [South Africa’s Chad le Clos]. I’m delighted to swim that fast.”
Scott’s historic success continued what has been a terrific championships so far for the University of Stirling.
Aimee Wilmott became the first English gold medallist of the Games with victory in the 400m individual medley, four years after taking silver in the same event.
Coming home in a time of 4:34.90, the 25-year-old from Middlesbrough swam a tactically perfect race to beat defending champion Hannah Miley into second place, in the process claiming her first-ever major title on the opening day of competition in Australia.
“In Glasgow , my downfall was that I tried to win it after 250 metres and I gave everything down the first length for the breaststroke and I literally had nothing in me for the last length,” she told the university.
“So it was a case of swimming controlled and really trying not to worry about what is going on. I could see Hannah out of the corner of my eye and just tried to keep relaxed on the breaststroke then save everything I had for that last 25 metres of the freestyle.
“I thought she was coming for me so I stuck my head down. My legs are so sore but it was totally worth it.”
Ross Murdoch also earned the opportunity to don the Team Scotland podium tracksuit, following up his gold medal in the 200m breaststroke at Glasgow 2014 with a silver in the same event four years on.
The Balloch native had looked on course to retain his title with a superb swim, but was ultimately edged out in the closing metres by England’s James Wilby.
“I was dying in the last 25 [metres],” the 24-year-old told the BBC following the race.
“I can’t say I’m really happy with that swim because I really wanted the win, I wanted the gold, but congrats to James. He’s been the man on form this whole season.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, but also delighted to come away with another medal for Scotland. I was faster than I have ever been at this time of year.”
Success also came the way of University of Stirling alumnus Marc Austin, who produced a stunning display to take a surprise bronze medal in the men’s triathlon on day one – Scotland’s first medal of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The former scholar was understandably delighted with the result, calling the performance “the race of his life”.
“I’m just so happy that the race of my life was third,” he told the BBC.
“My mum, my brother, my cousins are all here. I can’t wait to see them. My brother and my cousins will be all right, but my mum will be hyped-up. She just loves watching these races.”
Elsewhere, Scotland’s men’s basketball team, captained by Stirling-born Kieron Achara, advanced to the knockout stages with an unbeaten record, following impressive victories over England, Cameroon and India.
The Commonwealth Games continue until April 15.