Commonwealth Games: Duncan Scott admits schedule took its toll as Ross Murdoch looks ahead to next medal tilt

Duncan Scott is racing the schedule of a mad man at Birmingham 2022 but with an end goal of Paris in mind.

SMETHWICK, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Ross Murdoch of Team Scotland competes in the Men's 100m Breaststroke Heats on day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2022 on the Smethwick, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
SMETHWICK, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Ross Murdoch of Team Scotland competes in the Men's 100m Breaststroke Heats on day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2022 on the Smethwick, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

After Saturday’s 200m freestyle gold and 400m individual medley bronze, he was back in action at Sandwell Aquatics Centre, missing out on the medals in the 200m butterfly before booking a place in the 100m freestyle final.

Even a swimmer as gifted as Scott has to tire eventually, and he admitted that the sheer number of metres had taken their toll. But when it comes to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, that workload should pay off.

He said: “The 100 free, it was pretty tough. I’m not going to lie, there wasn’t much speed there so I had to work pretty hard all in there and it wasn’t great. It’s similar to what I went to in the semi four years ago so I’m confident I can drop quite big in that. I just need to rest up, I’ve got a morning off which will be nice.

“It’s probably because I’ve done the 1200m of racing yesterday, then 300m this morning and then another 200m there. All of that is going to take speed away. It’s really difficult. I’ve never done a first day like that, so it’s a good challenge. It means for Worlds and Olympics, I feel like my schedule’s pretty easy. I think it’ll be good for the future.”

Scott had to settle for fifth in the 200m butterfly, 12 hundredths behind good friend James Guy in bronze, while he qualified sixth fastest in the freestyle, setting up another date with rival Tom Dean on Monday, with Scott having won their first battle over 200m freestyle.

The biggest shock of the night was still to come however, triple Olympic champion Adam Peaty beaten over 100m breaststroke for the first time in a major final in his senior career.

A broken foot had put his participation in these Games in jeopardy, but after qualifying fastest for the final, the expectation was that he would continue his streak of dominance that dates all the way back to Glasgow 2014 and his senior international debut.

Instead, he faded down the second length as England teammate James Wilby took gold, with Peaty eventually finishing outside the medals altogether.

Ross Murdoch, who won bronze in the 200m breaststroke on Friday night finished just behind him in fifth in 1:00.04 and admitted it came as quite a surprise.

He said: “I was shocked, I had no idea what was happening. That’s not the result we thought. The boy’s had a tough year and it’s difficult. People have really upped their game since the trials here and I’m glad I took the chance on the 200 earlier in the week. We go again tomorrow in the 50.”

As for his own swim, there was a measure of disappointment but only a little.

He added: “I’m a wee bit disappointed with it. I got to the race plan I wanted to do and made my best attempt at it. I knew Sam (WIlliamson) beside me was a big boy, Duncan calls him the fridge, he’s one of those big American fridge freezers. I didn’t want to get carried into that, I swum my own race and took it controlled. I took 17 strokes on the front end and I normally take 19, so I think I overcooked that.

“These are the lessons you learn, I’m still working out what shape I’m in. If I came fifth and it said 59.99 on the board, I’d be a bit happier. I won’t be disappointed for too long.”

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