TEAM Scotland have named a 40-strong Aquatics team for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the biggest ever to compete in the competition.
The 38 swimmers and two divers selected were confirmed today by Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) in conjunction with Scottish Swimming.
Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig said: “I am delighted to announce the biggest Aquatics team we have ever selected for a Commonwealth Games and at this stage it is the biggest single sport in Team Scotland for 2014.
“Whilst there is a strong core of experience and success at the highest level, I am also excited to see so many new faces on the team who have been inspired to achieve their best in a quest to be part of Team Scotland at a home Games.
“With only 98 days left until the start of Glasgow 2014, I wish all of them the very best with their final preparations and look forward to some another successful Games in the pool for Scotland this summer.”
Only 12 athletes have competed in the Commonwealth Games before, with five of them medallists, contributing a total of eight medals to swimming’s impressive medal tally.
Caitlin McClatchey, double gold medallist from Melbourne 2006 battled back at the British Championships this week to secure her place in the 200m freestyle, despite contending with a back injury over recent weeks. She will make her third Games appearance for Team Scotland in Glasgow.
Glasgow-based Robbie Renwick will also compete in his third Games as he bids to retain his 200m Freestyle title which was Scotland’s first gold medal of the Games in Delhi in 2010.
Hannah Miley from Inverurie is also selected for her third consecutive Games and will defend her 400m Individual Medley title on the opening night of the swimming and has met selection standards for a further three individual events.
But it has been in the men’s breaststroke events that we have witnessed some of the stiffest competition for places, with Scotland statistically the strongest nation in the world in the 100m Breaststroke just now.
Whilst Olympic and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michael Jamieson demonstrated his pedigree in the 200m, University of Stirling’s Ross Murdoch has proved he is a force to be reckoned with, winning both the 100m and 50m titles at the Scottish Championships in new Scottish and British records and taking silver in the 200m.
He cemented his credentials a week later at the British Championships, where he stormed to victory in the 100m to go top of the world long-course rankings and then took silver in the 50m event.
Triple Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist Craig Benson also secured his place in the 100m breaststroke at the second time of asking, having missed out at the Scottish Championships by the narrowest of margins, just 0.01 seconds.
Two divers have also been announced today. Edinburgh’s Grace Reid who was Scotland’s youngest ever team member when she competed in Delhi 2010 at just 14 years of age will make her second Games appearance in the 1m springboard event. She will turn 18 in three weeks-time.
Also names is Reid’s training partner James Heatly, 16, who is the grandson of the legendary diver and Commonwealth administrator Sir Peter Heatly, who will turn 90 shortly before the Glasgow Games.
Sir Peter still sits in third place on the list of all-time top Scots at the Commonwealth Games winning three gold, one silver and one bronze.
Performance Director of Scottish Swimming, Ally Whike said: “I have been very pleased with the approach of the swimmers to the challenge of qualification. This will hold them in good stead to perform at the top of their game come July.
“Many congratulations to all the athletes selected today, it will be a truly wonderful experience to perform in front of a home crowd. The dedication of the athletes, coupled with the support they receive from Scottish Swimming and the sportscotland institute of sport experts and practitioners, has produced the best prepared Team Scotland swimmers and divers ever to take part in the Commonwealth Games.”
The aquatics team is expected to grow further, when the Para-Sport swimmers and any other swimmers securing selection times (only in events with available spaces, based on three per event) are announced at the final team announcement on June 12.