Swimmers set to represent Team Scotland at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games were out in force at the British Universities and Colleges Short Course Swimming Championships, held from 10-12 November. World and Olympic medallist Duncan Scott was the stand out performer, swimming to an impressive six gold and one silver, as the Scottish contingent shone in Sheffield.
In his first competitive outing since the summer, Scott stepped out of his comfort zone in his first event of the Championship to take gold in the 1500m Freestyle. He went on to add further individual titles in the 200m and 400m Freestyle and 200m Butterfly, taking silver in the 100m Butterfly. He added a further two gold in the relays within strong University of Stirling teams which included double Olympian Craig Benson and multiple Commonwealth Youth Games medallist Scott McLay.
Benson scored his own individual success with gold in both the 100m and 200m Breaststroke but had to settle for silver in the 50m event behind young University of Stirling team mate Zak Aitchison. Rio 2016 Paralympic medallist Andy Mullen was in record breaking form, setting new European bests in the S5 50m Backstroke and 50m Butterfly
Also in fine form was Edinburgh University’s Lucy Hope who erased Alison Sheppard’s long standing Scottish record over the 100m Freestyle. Hope stunned the crowd by touching ahead of pre-race favourite Anna Hopkin of Bath University in a new Scottish Senior and British Universities record. She added a second gold in the 50m Backstroke, also in a British Universities record, and took silver in both the 100m Backstroke and 200m Freestyle. There was also gold for Edinburgh in the 4x200m Freestyle relay as Hope was joined by double individual gold medallist and Welsh record holder Kathryn Greenslade, Team Scotland 2015 Youth Games medallist Tain Bruce and Evie Edwards.
Recently selected for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Corrie Scott and Kathleen Dawson were both triple medallists, Scott taking a silver and two bronze in the Breaststroke events and Dawson gold in the 100m Backstroke and silver in both 50m Backstroke and 50m Butterfly.
Other Scottish swimmers on the podium, who will be heading to Gold Coast next April, included Craig McNally, Jack Thorpe and 2015 Youth Games flagbearer Craig McLean.
In a hugely successful championship, University of Stirling finished in second place overall, with University of Edinburgh in third. The overall title was taken by defending champions Loughborough University.
Scottish swimmers will be back in action at the Scottish Short Course Championships, the final event in the Team Scotland Series, on 9-11 December at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool.