Ross Murdoch’s bid for Euro title ends with fourth place

Ross Murdoch 'expected better' than to finish fourth. Picture: PA.
Ross Murdoch 'expected better' than to finish fourth. Picture: PA.
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Scotland’s Ross Murdoch was left disappointed and a bit baffled as the defence of his European 200m breaststroke title ended with a 
disappointing fourth in Glasgow last night.

There was to be no repeat of the Commonwealth Games glory the 24-year-old enjoyed in the Tollcross pool four years ago as Russian Olympic medallist Anton Chupkov stormed to gold ahead of Glasgow-born Englishman James Wilby, who took silver. Bronze went to Luca Pizzini of Italy.

“I’m really disappointed with that to be honest,” said Murdoch after the race.

“I’ve learned a lot from this meet. It’s been good so far and I expected better of myself tonight. I didn’t know if I could win it or not but I certainly felt I was better than 2:08.5. Pretty disappointing the way that went.

“It was all going pretty swimmingly to be honest and I just don’t know what happened on the back 50. I should have been going faster than I was. So I just want to have a look.”

Duncan Scott, meanwhile, refused to blame his intense schedule after struggling through the rounds of the 200m freestyle and just scraping into tonight’s final as the slowest qualifier.

Returning early yesterday the morning after he had won 4x200m relay gold and 100m freestyle silver, the 21-year-old Scot battled through his heat, finishing fourth. His time of 1:48.53 was still enough to finish ahead of team-mates Calum Jarvis and Cameron Kurle to join relay team-mate James Guy in the evening’s semis.

Both Brits were in the second of those but, while Guy finished comfortably in second, Scott toiled his way to fifth in 1:46.79 and was relieved to make it through.

“And breathe, I guess,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t try to do that. That wasn’t the plan. It’s going to be pretty tough tomorrow night and I guess I just have to try to swim my own race.

“It’s not ideal, finishing fifth in the semi. But still making it through to the final, you’ve got a lane, you’ve got a chance. I will have to look at the race and see what I can do better. I’ve got tomorrow morning off, so that should maybe help.”

It has been a long week for Scott but he had an even more packed schedule at the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year.

“It’s tough but it’s not something that I’m particularly new to, so I don’t think it’s anything to do with the performance I’ve just put in,” he continued. “This is something I’ve been doing since juniors, racing back-to-back, doing relays, then coming back the next morning to do heats.

“So it’s something I’m used to. I can’t put the performance down to that.”

There was disappointment for Scotland’s Mark Szaranek, who finished fifth in the 200m individual medley, as British team-mate Max Litchfield took bronze.

The evening, which included a 200m butterfly bronze for Britain’s Alys Thomas, ended on a high as the GB quartet of Georgia Davies, Adam Peaty, Guy and Freya Anderson won gold in the mixed 4x100m medley.