Having led Scotland into the opening ceremony in Samoa, Craig McLean felt pressure to perform but delivered last night with a fantastic swim for silver in the 100m freestyle.
McLean said: “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 McLean 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 check out the potential competition he could face at future Commonwealth Games when these swimmers hit the senior ranks.
He added: “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 seniors 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 it there for me, it was really satisfying. I’d love to get a gold and hear that national anthem.”
Silver for McLean 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 Robertson. “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. It means so much.”
Rachel Alexander kept up the momentum over at the Apia Park athletics stadium with a bronze in the long jump after producing a brilliant jump of 5.90 metres under pressure in the third round after two fouls in the opening two rounds.
She said: “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.
“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.”
Yesterday’s three medals brought the Scotland team’s total to eight – four silver and four bronze.