Duncan Scott comes close to unlikely relay medal

Duncan Scott will not depart this week’s European Short-course Swimming Championships in Glasgow without achieving something.

Duncan Scott in the Men's 4 x 50m freestyle heats. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

Success for the double Olympic silver medallist will not be measured solely in medals. Not with Tokyo 2020 fast approaching. Not when there are minor wrinkles to iron out.

So, fourth place in his opening event at Tollcross last night provided more pluses and minuses, for both the 22-year-old and his team-mates in the 4x50 freestyle relay final.

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Scott, Joe Litchfield, James Guy and Scott McLay lowered the British record in the morning heats and again in the final when Scott’s charge, to a time of 1:24.82, nearly snatched a spot on the podium.

It was a useful primer for them all, both for the remainder of this week and for the pursuit of bigger prizes ahead.

Scott said: “Finishing fourth probably surprised ourselves so we should be happy with that.

“They put me in a good position and to have been on the podium would have been a massive bonus,” added Scott, who claimed the Scottish 50m freestyle record with a lead leg of 21.25 seconds in qualifying.

“None of us are 50 freestylers. It’s all about executing skills under pressure and it was another opportunity to practise that relay takeover. It’s a bit different to what we’re used to. But it was a good shot.”

Tom Dean surprised himself with silver in the men’s 400m freestyle final behind Lithuanian leviathan Danas Rapsys, who was almost five seconds clear in a championship record of 3:37.95. “I’ve got a lot more to give,” Dean said. “I just floated the 200 to try to stick with those guys who are more experienced than me.”

Earlier, world championship medallist Luke Greenbank opened the UK’s medal tally with bronze in the men’s 200m backstroke as Poland’s Rado Kawecki struck gold. “I’m a second faster than I was this time last year,” the 22-year-old Englishman said. “That gives me a lot of confidence because last year was still really good.”

Olympic champion Katinka
Hosszu claimed her 17th European short-course title by charging clear of fellow Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos in the women’s 400 individual medley final.

Italian prospect Benedetta Pilato set a world junior record of 29.32 secs to land women’s 50m breaststroke gold.

Russia’s Vladimir Morozov won the men’s 50m breaststroke in a European record of 25.51 secs with Ross Murdoch 10th in the semis. However, the ex-Commonwealth champion has stronger hopes in today’s 200m and 4x50 mixed 
medley relay.