Clock ticking in race for 2014 Games team
CAITLIN McClatchey, the winner of double-Commonwealth gold in 2006, and fellow London Olympian Craig Benson are two Scots in urgent mood at the British Championships taking place over the next six days at the Tollcross International Centre in Glasgow.
With time to the Games running out, the pair aim to make the grade and add their names to the list of 23 Scots whose times were worthy of Commonwealth Games selection at last week’s Scottish Championships at the same venue.
Benson was surely the unluckiest swimmer at the Scottish Championships. Having to finish in the top three and make a qualifying time, the Warrender man finished fourth and inside the mark in the 200m breaststroke, and third and a mere 0.01secs outside what was required in the 100m.
McClatchey, who is studying for a masters degree in performance psychology at Edinburgh University, has been struggling with a back injury, but is confident she can return to her best by the time of the Games in July.
“The injury is between my shoulder blades and affects my arm action,” said the 28-year-old, who won the 200m and 400m freestyle at the Melbourne Games eight years ago. “But I’m getting back to full fitness and I know I’ll be able to go a lot, lot faster come the summer.
“I won the 200m freetstyle last week, which was good, but I need to go faster this week.”
Even if she doesn’t make the individual time, McClatchey should be one of the first choices for the freestyle relay squads. For those who posted qualifying times, the British Championships offer a chance to test themselves against the UK opposition.
Ross Murdoch, who set a British (50m) and Scottish (100m) breaststroke record last week, and Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson, who won the 200m, will be out to prove that they are the cream of the crop.
In today’s opening session, Garioch’s Hannah Miley and England’s Sophie Smith in the 400m individual medley will be pick of the session as will Robbie Renwick in the 200m freestyle.
In Glasgow, Miley and Renwick will be defending champions and have the chance to turn themselves into national heroes.
For some of the group that qualified last week, there will be a touch of nervousness over their times being overtaken and losing their place this week.