Having led Scotland into the opening ceremony on Saturday night, swimmer Craig McLean was feeling the pressure to perform in the pool and he delivered tonight with a fantastic swim for Silver in the 100m Freestyle.
“I’ve felt a bit of extra pressure as flag bearer, being the person that’s aiming to lead everybody, so to be up there winning a medal means I can go out there and just enjoy the rest of my swims. I’ve done what I came here to do. It also means a lot for me, being the flagbearer as well, that I haven’t crumbled, I’ve managed to come out here and deal with the pressure of a multi-sport Games, being surrounded by a team and travelling to the other side of the world and having to perform.”
“After a strong opening 50m Craig dug deep in a tussle for Silver with Lewis Clough and just got the touch ahead of the Englishman by two hundredths of a second. The race was won by Vincent Dai of Australia and Craig enjoyed the opportunity to scope out the potential competition he could face at future Commonwealth Games when these swimmers hit the senior ranks.
“Hopefully this is a stepping stone onto greater things and I’ll see what I can do next year. After next year it will be straight onto the Gold Coast and the journey towards that. This will be an ideal stepping stone, I’m at the top of the Youths so hopefully by the time I get to Gold Coast I’ll have made that jump to senior and it’s given me a good opportunity to see who’s out there in Australia and the other side of the Commonwealth.
“It was amazing being on the podium, I’ve never felt anything like it before. Even though my flag wasn’t at the top it was still amazing to see my flag, not just Scotland’s flag but MY flag, there for me, not there for anyone else. The reason it was up there was because of me and that was really satisfying. I’d love to get a Gold and hear that national anthem, it’s my favourite song!”
Silver for Craig was quickly followed by a Bronze for Erin Robertson in the 100m Breaststroke behind Layla Black of England and Kaylene Corbett of South Africa.
“It feels absolutely brilliant,” said Erin. “It’s the one thing I wanted to do when I came here, to bring home a medal for Scotland, regardless of what colour it was and I’ve done that tonight. It means so much. Ever since I was little I wanted to represent my country and bring home a medal and that’s me done it tonight. I’ve satisfied my ten year self in representing Scotland and I’m really, really happy.”
“This is the biggest experience I’ve ever had, the first time over this side of the world, I’ve never come anywhere over here before. Samoa is amazing. It’s so hot and the people are so nice, I’ve never met anyone as friendly as the people here. The mood in the camp has been great, everyone is really excited. It really spurred me on tonight and hearing all the national anthems as well, I wanted to hear the Scottish one up there. I didn’t quite manage it tonight but it’s enough just to stand on the podium and have the Scotland flag beside me.”
Rachel Alexander kept up the momentum over at the Apia Park athletics stadium with a Bronze in the long jump and produced a brilliant jump under pressure in the third round after two fouls in the opening two rounds. With a third foul meaning an exit from the competition there was no room for error but Rachel held her nerve to put in a jump of 5.90m which eventually secured her the medal.
“After the first two no jumps I was so scared so the third one I just moved my run up way back to make sure I got one in. After that I couldn’t really get it all together but I guess I’ll just go home and train for that and come back another time and do it better. Watching the guys do so well yesterday definitely made me want to do better as well so it’s just brilliant for the athletics team.
“It’s good to come away with a medal because it’s something else to my name but I’m obviously hoping to keep improving from it and learn from what I’ve done here. I’m looking forward to relaxing now and getting out to support everyone else. I think I’m going to go and watch as many other sports as I can.”
Today’s three medals bring Youth Team Scotland’s total to eight with four Silver and four Bronze.
Follow us on Twitter: @Team _Scotland for leading Scottish results as they happen.