Swimming: Robbie Renwick rolls back the years

Hannah Miley is all smiles after winning the 400m Individual Medley in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS
Hannah Miley is all smiles after winning the 400m Individual Medley in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS
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WITH two Olympics and three Commonwealth Games already in the locker, Robbie Renwick knows he is in the twilight of his career. But a move from Glasgow to the University of Stirling has helped given him a new lease of life.

“I’ve got two years left,” claimed the 26-year-old after collecting the gold medal in the 200m freestyle at yesterday’s Scottish Gas National Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

“I want to give it one final push towards the Olympics in Rio and the move to Stirling is just what I needed. I’ve started to enjoy swimming again.”

The Commonwealth Games 200m champion from Delhi 2010, Renwick claimed a third successive silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle at Glasgow 2014. But he knows his individual freestyle events failed to hit the mark at the home Games.

“I didn’t do myself justice and I knew I had to do something about it,” he continued. “Moving to the university set-up has been great.”

At Stirling, his training mates include Commonwealth Games 200m breaststroke champion, Ross Murdoch, and 2012 Olympian, Craig Benson, and the coaches are Ben Higson and Steve Tigg.

“A good chunk of the decision is because of the coaches,” he said. “Ben and I shared a house together and we are good friends. I’m really enjoying training with the squad.”

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It also seems to be working for Benson, who moved north from Warrender at the end of the summer. He won both the 100m (58.72 secs) and 200m breaststroke (2.06.81) National titles, producing his best times in two years.

Renwick clocked 1:44.19 in the 200m – just 0.15 secs outside Andy Hunter’s Scottish record – and, on Saturday, he had set a Scottish mark of 47.96 secs in the 100m. He won the National titles in both.

Hannah Miley, despite suffering from a croaky throat, was the most prolific Scottish winner, taking four Scottish titles. Yesterday, the Garioch 25-year-old added her Commonwealth Games gold event, the 400m individual medley, and the 200m freestyle to Friday’s success in the 200m medley and 200m butterfly.

Teenager Kathleen Dawson, the Warrington-based Scottish Commonwealth Games competitor, also enjoyed a successful Championships. She broke the record in both the heats and finals of the 50m backstroke on Friday and she was at again in the 1000m.

“I didn’t expect to go so fast in the 100m,” admitted the Kirkcaldy-born 17-year-old. “But this has been a good confidence builder. Next year I want to make the World Championships and then the Olympics.”

For Michael Jamieson, the Championships were about getting back in the water following the huge disappointment of the summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Jamieson won a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke at Glasgow 2014 – but his runner-up spot behind fellow-Scot Ross Murdoch was anything but the dream come true for the home country’s poster boy.

On Saturday, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist was happy with his bronze in 59.41 secs in his second event, the 100m breaststroke. England’s Andrew Willis won in 58.68 secs and Benson picked up the silver and the National title.

Jamieson also swam in the 200m breaststroke heats yesterday morning – he wasn’t available for the final as he was attending the BBC Sports Personality if the Year awards in Glasgow – but it was Willis who again came out on top in 2:05.58.

The 26-year-old Glaswegian clocked 2:07.15 – outside the time by Benson in the final. Jamieson took a two-and-a-half month break after the Commonwealths but reckons he has now regained his enthusiasm for the sport.

“I played it very low key after the Games and it was hard to think about swimming during the time off,” he admitted. “But I’m now working with a new German coach who is based in Austria, Dirk Lange, and it’s just the spark I needed. I’m beginning to enjoy it again.”

Warrender’s Dan Wallace, the Commonwealth Games 400m individual medley champion, finished second in the 200m medley and set a Scottish record of 1:56.32. But he pulled out of the 400m yesterday due to a groin strain.

Craig McLean (Carnegie) underlined his promise with a bunch of Scottish junior records. In the final session, he set a new mark 54.63 secs in the 100m backstroke.

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