It was a great night in the pool for Team Scotland’s swimmers as they took their medal tally to five, adding a silver and two bronze medals to the two silvers won yesterday at the Optus Aquatics Centre.
Mark Szaranek made an impressive Team Scotland debut winning silver in the 400m Individual Medley. In a well-executed race, Szaranek showed real strength during the Breaststroke leg, moving up the field from fifth into second.
In the last 50m the man from Glenrothes came close to hunting down Clyde Lewis (AUS), but the home favourite held on for the win in 4:13.12. Szaranek’s silver came in 4:13.72, while Lewis Clareburt (NZL) secured bronze in 4:14.42.
Szaranek said of his performance: “I am pretty happy; the goal was always to come in and try and win, but that is the fastest I have ever been, so I can’t really ask for much more. Getting beat is getting beat, it doesn’t matter by how much; it is a shame I couldn’t win but there is always next time. The 400 IM is still something I am learning and hopefully in the future I will get it right and put together a winning performance.”
With a number of finals being held in the pouring rain, Szaranek added: “The conditions were exactly how I wanted them to be if I am honest. I wanted it to be rainy, I would have liked a bit more wind to put the other guys off but it was good fun out here racing in the rain. To race under these lights was amazing and this whole set up that they have here is something else.”
Duncan Scott and Stephen Milne lined up alongside a world-class field in the final of the 200m Freestyle. Scott was lying out of the medals with 50m to go, but showed his class to power home for the bronze in 1:46.30.
Kyle Chalmers (AUS) won gold in 1:45.56, while the 400m Freestyle champion from the opening night, Mack Horton (AUS), won silver in 1:45.89. Stephen Milne finished eighth in the final.
After picking up his medal, Scott said of his performance: “I have mixed emotions. I wanted more, but I know I should still be happy with that. It’s my first individual medal on a big stage so that alone is a massive positive.
“I don’t go into many races believing that I can’t win. To come away not winning, I am slightly disappointed. I will be looking to see how I can better that this summer. I was a lot quicker than that last summer, but this is a lot earlier in the year, so I reckon I’m in a good place for the weekend.”
In the last final of the night, Scotland’s men made history, securing their first ever medal in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay. The quartet of Duncan Scott, Jack Thorpe, Kieran McGuckin and Stephen Milne all played a massive part in securing bronze, with Milne bringing it home in 3:15.86, lowering the Scottish record they set in the heats.
After the final McGuckin was first to comment: “That was the first ever 4x100m Free medal for Scotland at a Commonwealth Games and it’s a pretty special moment for us all.”
Milne added: “The mood in the camp is great and we’ve done pretty well so far, with quite a few medals in the pool and hopefully more to come. It’s great we are adding to the whole of Team Scotland on the medal table.”
Craig McLean, Scott McLay and Dan Wallace will also receive a medal for the key role they played in the heats to ensure the team were best placed to fight for a medal come the final.
After producing a personal best swim in the heats this morning, Toni Shaw fought hard all the way in the S9 100m Backstroke final, the youngster finishing fifth in 1:16.79.
Ross Murdoch and Craig Benson both progressed to tomorrow’s 100m Breaststroke final, while Calum Tait finished his run in 12th place. Lucy Hope finished the 50m Freestyle in ninth, while Kathleen Dawson had to swim twice to ensure her place in tomorrow’s 100m Backstroke final. Posting a time of 1:00.67 for the semi-final, she found herself in a swim-off against Lizzie Simmonds (ENG) at the very end of the session. In a classic Scotland versus England tussle it was Dawson who came out on top and will return tomorrow evening.
Swimmers due to race in Saturday’s heats include double bronze medallist Duncan Scott, 400m Individual Medley silver medallist Hannah Miley and the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay. The action gets underway at 10:31hrs (01:31hrs).