Ross Murdoch versus Adam Peaty and Hannah Miley’s bid to secure a third Olympic appearance are among the opening day highlights at the Team GB Olympic trials at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow.
Scotland’s Murdoch and England’s Peaty go head to head in the 100m breaststroke – and both are hoping the trials are a stepping stone to a podium place in Rio this summer. Peaty won gold at last year’s world championships – Murdoch took home the bronze.
“I never take anything for granted, but I’m really looking forward to the trials,” said Murdoch, the Commonwealth Games 200m champion.
Craig Benson, who trains with Murdoch at the University of Stirling, is also in the 100m and he will be hoping to regain his high of London four years ago. As an unrated teenager, he made it to the 2012 Olympics with a terrific swim at the trials. But, since then, he has failed to retain his place in the British team, missing out on two world championships. “British breaststroke has really taken off since 2012,” said the 21-year-old. “I suffered a little dip, but I feel I’m in a good position going into the trials.”
Miley has won medals at world, European and Commonwealth level and has reached Olympic finals. She is the fastest on paper in the 400m individual medley but will face a stiff challenge from England’s Aimee Wilmott.
The other finals tonight are the men’s 400m freestyle and the women’s 200m freestyle.
Dan Wallace and Stephen Milne both have a chance to grab one of the two spots, although it is not their top event. Milne’s main target is the 1500m freestyle on Friday, while Wallace is favourite in the 400m medley, the title he won at Glasgow 2014.
Friday is a big night for the Scots with Murdoch, Benson, Michael Jamieson and Calum Tait all vying for glory in the 200m breaststroke.
Jamieson, the silver medallist from London 2012, opened his heart when he failed to show any semblance of world class form at last month’s Edinburgh International Meet.
“I care so much about swimming and I don’t want it to be finished,” said the 27-year-old, who was devastated by his defeat from Murdoch at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. “I’ve had a number of injuries over the last couple of years but I’ve done everything I can to make it to Rio.”
Robbie Renwick is another Scot hoping to make it three Olympics on the trot, and he got a real taste of glory with gold in the 3 x 200m freestyle relay at last year’s World Championships in Russia.
Duncan Scott, who left Strathallan School just a year ago, is the bright young Scottish spark aiming to make his Olympic debut. He went to the World Championship last year for the relay.
For Craig McNally, the trials are chance to wipe out the heartbreak of four years ago when he missed the team by fractions of a second – will he realise his Olympic dream in Sunday’s 200m backstroke?