Robbie Renwick clinches 400m freestyle gold

Robbie Renwick came good in the Edinburgh final after toiling in the heats. Picture: Markus Stitz
Robbie Renwick came good in the Edinburgh final after toiling in the heats. Picture: Markus Stitz
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TWO-TIME Olympic finalist Robbie Renwick had to draw on all his experience plus a good deal of dogged determination to win the 400m freestyle at the Scottish Gas National Short Course Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool last night.

The 25-year-old British record holder had qualified in a lowly sixth place and then had to come from behind in the final to secure the gold in 3.43.92 ahead of Loughborough University’s Roberto Pavoni in 3:44.58.

“That was very tough,” admitted Renwick. “I’m in a four-month block of solid training and I haven’t raced for ages. I felt awful this morning. The heats were a real shock to the system.

“But I managed to sleep for three hours this afternoon and I’m really happy with the way it went tonight. It’s been a great warm-up for the Duel in the Pool [Europe v USA] in Glasgow next Friday and Saturday and then I’m looking forward to the Scottish training camp in Tenerife from 27 December.”

Falkirk Integrated Regional Swim Team’s Charlotte McKenzie was a teenager in form with a Scottish record of 27.91secs in the 50m backstroke.

The 17-year-old’s new mark was good enough for a bronze medal, but her event gave a timely reminder of the strength of the rival UK teams as we move towards Commonwealth Games year. Lizzie Simmonds (University of Bath) won the gold in a new British record of 26.45secs and Wales’ Georgia Davies (Loughborough University) was second in 26.60.

“I would have liked to have gone a little faster,” admitted McKenzie. “But you always have to be happy with a PB at this stage of the season.”

McKenzie, coached by Steven Tigg, finished fifth for GB at the summer’s World Junior Championships in Dubai and her main target for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be the 100m backstroke.

The trials take place in April, and she said: “I want to try and qualify for the individual 100m backstroke and make the 4x100m medley relay team. Qualifying for the 200m backstroke would be a real bonus.”

Edinburgh University’s Kathryn Johnstone was the night’s first Scottish winner with gold in the 100m breaststroke. The 23-year-old was just outside the Scottish record in 1:06.69 and sent out a signal that she is ready to make it to her second ­Commonwealth Games next summer. Ross Murdoch (University of Stirling) set a Scottish record of 27.08 and finished second to Loughborough University’s Andrew Weatheritt in the men’s 50m breaststroke. In the men’s 50m freestyle, Richard Schafers (Edinburgh University) was just pipped for gold by 0.01 by double winner Weatheritt, but his time of 21.98secs matched his own Scottish record.

Duncan Scott (FIRST) won the Scottish junior title in the 50m freestyle and set a new Scottish junior record of 22.85. He also set a Scottish junior record of 3:53.57 in the 400m freestyle. Adam Barrett (Loughborough University) set a British record of 50.05secs in winning the 100m butterfly, and another English guest, Loughborough teenager Sophie Smith, clocked 2:07.48 to take 200m individual medley gold. It was just 1.27secs outside Hannah Miley’s British record.

Miley, competing at the European Short-Course Championships in Denmark, fell short of the podium again yesterday. The Garioch swimmer finished sixth in the 800m freestyle, the same placing Michael Jamieson managed in the 100m breaststroke.

Jamieson fell two-tenths of a second short of his British record time from Thursday to finish sixth in 58.07.