Swimming: Scott has eight golds and he wants more

Duncan Scott: Trains 14 hours a week in the Strathallan pool. Picture: Contributed
Duncan Scott: Trains 14 hours a week in the Strathallan pool. Picture: Contributed
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Duncan Scott made his mark at this month’s Scottish Gas Scottish Age Group Championships, winning eight gold medals and setting a Scottish junior and British 15-year-old record in the 50m freestyle at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool.

This summer, the Strathallan School pupil could be making his Team GB debut at the European Youth Olympics in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Duncan and Aberdeen Grammar School’s Suleman Butt – another multiple gold winner at the Age Group Championships – are both under consideration for the Dutch event.

Duncan started swimming when he was just five and living in Kilmarnock – now his all-round talent shines out with the Age Group wins coming in the two medleys and all four strokes.

Last year, he swam for Scotland at the UK School Games and in the Schools’ International and, next month, he will be donning Scottish trunks at the Tri Nations International at East Kilbride.

Duncan and his family moved to Alloa at the age of eight, he joined the Falkirk-based FIRST Club and then was awarded a swimming scholarship to Strathallan, where he is now a boarder.

He is now jointly coached by FIRST’s Steven Tigg and Elaine Johnstone, who swam under her maiden name of Gilfillan (she was one of three sisters) at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

“I started coaching swimming at Strathallan ten years ago and it has gone from virtually nothing to having someone as good as Duncan,” said Johnstone. Steven and I work very well together. He trains with me in term time and we share a lot of feedback.

“We have a four-lane 25-yard pool at Strathallan and he trains 14 hours a week and also gets extra gym and conditioning work. He has been taken into the Scottish Institute of Sport programme and that is great in terms of back-up facilities.

“Duncan swam really well at the Age Group Championships, He’s really the perfect student. He works hard, is very grounded and doesn’t seem to get fazed by pressure.”

In the fifth form at Strathallan, Duncan is taking his GCSE exams this year and then will have to try and decide how best to fit in either Highers or A levels around his swimming ambitions.

He is very young, but next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are an enticing carrot. “I’m certainly thinking about the Games,” he admitted. “I’m not sure which event might be best, probably the medleys. “I haven’t been specifically training for freestyle so setting the 50m record was a bit of a surprise.”