David Carry got Team Scotland’s swimmers off to a positive start in the Delhi pool, winning a bronze medal in a thrilling men’s 400m freestyle race in which the lead swung back and forth, before Canada’s Ryan Cochrane emerged in the final fifty metres to win the race and take Carry’s title.
Though he admitted to “a tinge of sadness” at not winning back-to-back gold, Carry said any disappointment was outweighed by his happiness at returning to the Games podium.
Carry made the early running, going out fast in the opening 100 metres to build a significant lead over opponents including Cochrane, Ryan Napoleon of Australia and England’s David Davies, with Scotland’s Robbie Renwick also in the mix.
“That was absolutely the plan,” said Carry of his explosive start. “I knew there were a couple of 1500m [specialists] a couple of lanes away, and I really needed to do something different just to shake up the race a bit, and hopefully panic those guys.
“I wanted to make them feel like they were swimming my race rather than theirs,” continued Carry, who, after his rapid start, faded slightly – he dropped to fifth after 300m – before an impressive late charge to claim the bronze.
“I didn’t have the legs to go with them initially, when they came back at me,” Carry explained, “and I felt a bit heavy in that middle, but I seemed to get something back towards the end.
“There is a tinge of sadness at giving my title away,” he added, “but not too much, because I’m back on that podium. I knew that after Beijing I had a lot of work to do, but I feel like I’m getting there. It’s really good to be on the podium.”
There was disappointment, though, for Renwick, who started steadily, and was fifth at quarter-distance, before he ate into the leaders’ advantage, taking the lead at 300m. Having looked as though he had timed his effort to perfection, he slipped to third before dropping out of the medals, finally placing sixth.
“I went out to win it,” said Renwick. “I didn’t go out to come second or third, but it turned out I had nothing left in the last fifty metres. In a way I’m proud of myself that I tried to win the race, and didn’t want to settle for anything but gold: it was an all or nothing effort. But I was so involved in the race that I didn’t think about my body enough, and I used up my reserves too early.
“Now I’ve got the 200, which I consider my main event, and I really want to bounce back for that.”
Another swimmer looking forward to her main event is Hannah Miley, who was fifth in the “splash and dash” 200m individual medley. “I’m a little bit disappointed I didn’t get in the medals, but I gave it everything I’ve got,” said Miley.
“I’m here for the 400m medley, so this was a stepping stone for me. The splash and dash of the 200 is too short for me. But on the first day I just wanted to get out there and swim.”
After Team Scotland’s two gold medals on the opening day of the 2006 Commonwealth Games – thanks to Carry and Caitlin McClatchey – Miley admitted that, this time, the team hadn’t been sure what to expect. “We’ve had some good performances from the younger swimmers, which is great,” she said.
“But the real positive thing is the team support when you stand up there and they call your name,” added Miley. “The loudest cheer is for the Scots, because we’re there to support each other, and the team spirit is great.”
McClatchey, who has had an illness-interrupted season, was in action in the morning’s heats, though she stumbled at the first hurdle in her defence of the 200m freestyle. “I’m really disappointed,” said McClatchey. “I knew it was going to take something quite fast to make the final. I really wanted to come here and defend my title, but I don’t think I had it in me today.
“I knew it was going to be hard here, because I haven’t been able to train consistently this year,” she continued. “I think I needed one swim to get into the meet; I’ve got more swims coming up over the next few days, which I want to focus on now.”
In the women’s 50m breaststroke, meanwhile, Kathryn Johnstone gave a fantastic performance to qualify for Tuesday’s final, while 17-year old Corrie Scott made it into the semi-final but narrowly missed a place in the final. “I can’t ask for more than that,” said Johnstone. “To make the semi-final was a definite aim, to make a final was a bonus. I felt more comfortable in qualifying, but I think I can change a few things for tomorrow night and hopefully go faster.”
The men’s relay squad of Carry, Renwick, Andy Hunter and Jak Scott was also looking forward, after placing fifth in the 4x100m freestyle. “We’ve got a really strong 4×200 team, so we’re looking forward to that on Wednesday,” said Renwick.
“I just can’t wait for the relay,” said Carry, who was in the squad narrowly pipped to gold in the same event four years ago. “I’m so excited about that.”