IT was job well done for Dan Wallace at the end of a taxing four days at the Scottish Gas National Championships at Tollcross International Centre in Glasgow.
In a fleeting trip home from the University of Florida, the Warrender swimmer made Commonwealth Games qualifying times in the two medleys and the 400m freestyle.
In the final race, the 400m individual medley, he was just pipped for gold by the experienced Lewis Smith (4:16.28) but was delighted to make the Games mark in 4:16.40. Third-placed Ross Muir was also inside the time in 4:20.05. “The pressure was on because I am not staying on for the British Championships next week,” said Wallace, who made his Team GB debut at last year’s World Championships in Barcelona and is determined to be a medal challenger come Glasgow 2014. The 200m freestyle was one of races of the final session and City of Glasgow’s Robbie Renwick made sure he will be defending the title at the Commonwealth Games by taking gold in 1:47.60. “I came to these Championship aiming to get the Games times in the 200m and 400m and I’m happy to have done it,” said the two-time Olympian who also won the 100m freestyle title. “Now I’ll be able to chill out for a few days and really concentrate on getting ready for Glasgow this summer.”
Corrie Scott broke the Scottish record in the 50m breaststroke in 31.38secs and led a medal clean sweep for Edinburgh University. Kathryn Johnstone (31.53secs) and Andrea Strachan (31.65ses) also made the Games requirement.
Hannah Miley, as ever, was the greediest Scot at the Championships, guzzling up six titles. She completed the set with a win in the 200m butterfly in 2:12.66, just edging out 16-year-old Tain Bruce (2:16.06). Miley has Games qualifying time in the two medleys and the 800m freestyle and will be defending the 400m IM in Glasgow.
“I’ve had strong and solid swims and just a bit gutted that I didn’t get another qualifying time in the butterfly,” said the Garioch 24-year-old. “Now there’s a lot more tough training to put in over the next few months.”
Sian Harkin (University of Stirling), who had already qualified for the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly, claimed a third National title with a win in the 100m freestyle in 56.06secs, and admitted she was shocked to relegate three-time Olympian Caitlin McClatchey (56.14secs) to second place.
McClatchey memorably won the 200m and 400m freestyle at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and she admits that, at 28, it is getting harder to step up to the mark. A niggling back injury has hampered recent training but the Edinburgh University Masters student is still hopeful she can make Glasgow 2014. “As you get older, you just have to swim smarter,” she suggested. “I would love to make it to a third Commonwealths and I know I could swim much faster if I do make it this summer.”
Carnegie teenager Craig Bowman won the 100m butterfly and was just 0.75secs shy of the Games time in 53.84secs. “It was a really close finish and I’m extremely happy to win,” said the 17-year-old.
The highlight on Saturday was a 59.75ses Scottish record and a win over Michael Jamieson for the University of Stirlng’s Ross Murdoch in the 100m breaststroke. The 20-year-old had already set a British record in the 50m.
At the end of the four day Championships, 36 Commonwealth Games times were achieved by 23 swimmers. The list of medal contenders should include London 2012 silver medallist Jamieson, fellow-Olympians Miley and Renwick plus the 2013 World Championship contenders Murdoch, Wallace and Craig McNally. Two notable names still to make the grade are McClatchey, and Craig Benson, who was just 17 when he qualified for the London Olympics.
The deadline date for Glasgow 2014 qualification is early June and the next chance is the six days of the British Championships back at Tollcross from this Thursday.
In the multi-classification events, paraswimmer Craig Rodgie (Edinburgh University) achieved an S14 qualification time with a Scottish record 2:03.05 in the 200m freestyle.