Duncan Scott lit up Sheffield on the third night of the British Swimming Championships by smashing the UK record in the 100 metres freestyle to strike gold.
The 19-year-old, fifth in the event at last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, became the first Briton ever to go under the 48-second barrier as he blitzed clear of the field to win in 47.90, automatically securing his place in the team for July’s world championships in Budapest.
It was a time that would have been quick enough for a spot on the Olympic podium eight months ago and vaulted the Stirling University swimmer to the head of the world rankings. And Scott – who was over a second clear of Edinburgh University duo Jack Thorpe and Kieran McGuckin in a Scottish 1-2-3 – claimed he’d surprised himself with the progress made.
“I’m delighted with that,” said Scott, who will race next in today’s 100m butterfly. “I’ve obviously not had the preparations I had last year so to get a personal best is incredible. I just came here to race. So that’s a bonus.”
Max Litchfield, fourth at Rio 2016, was also in record-breaking form at Ponds Forge as he swept to victory in the 400m individual medley in 4:10.63, breaking Dan Wallace’s existing British mark.
Mark Szaranek, freshly returned to his new base in Edinburgh after four years at the University of Florida, slashed over two seconds off his lifetime best to take silver in 4:15.51. And even with the 400 individual medley to come this weekend, the 21-year-old has confirmed his place in pole position for the vacant slot in Scotland’s 4x200 relay squad that has been tipped for gold at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
“He’s has had a great collegiate season in America, the first Scot to win an individual NCAA title since David Wilkie,” Scottish national coach Alan Lynn said.
“We’ve got the three boys who won the silver in Rio and Mark’s been a great contributor to his college team over the last three years. He is somebody we’re looking at but we have a strong group, including some youngsters coming through, who will be putting their hands up.”
Stirling’s Callum Lawrie pushed his case for a spot at the world junior championships by winning the Target Tokyo 400IM final in a personal best. Lucy Hope of Edinburgh University scooped bronze in the 50m freestyle as Anna Hopkin claimed her first British title ahead of Olympian Siobhan-Marie O’Connor.
However City of Perth’s Stephen Milne is in danger of missing out on a world tilt after the Rio medallist struggled to a disappointing third place in the 1500m freestyle final, with the Scot coming in 21 seconds behind champion Dan Jervis.
Keanna Macinnes and Hannah Miley were fourth and fifth in the 200 fly, won by Charlotte Atkinson.