The European champion rounded off his week with victory in the 200 metres freestyle in 1:45.63 to hold off James Guy. As ever, he will pick nits and look for further incremental gains before July’s world championships in Gwangju and ahead, beyond that, of Tokyo’s Olympics..
Yet Tollcross has witnessed an impressive body of work. Scott lowered his British record in the 100m free last week while his winning time of 1:56.65 in Saturday’s 200m individual medley, which was one-hundredth of a second off the UK best, catapulted him to the top of the world rankings.
“It’s been good,” offered Scott with needless under-statement. “I was pretty disappointed with my first event, the 200 fly. It’s the fastest I’ve ever been but there’s still room to improve on that. I just don’t know the next time I’ll get to swim it. But it’s been a really solid meet. Big personal bests. 200IM: PB. 100 butterfly: PB. 100 fly: sub-48 again. And that was another solid swim. It should scrape me on the team I hope.”
No doubt. Exiting in the morning heats almost certainly blocked Stephen Milne and Mark Szanarek’s path to the worlds. The former, an Olympic 4x200 freestyle silver medallist alongside Scott and Guy in 2016, has looked out of sorts for the past year and exploratory trips to other centres of excellence around Britain have not produced the change of direction he requires.
Ditto for Szanarek, who had acknowledged his final event represented a last chance saloon. Based at the University of Florida for the last five years, the Commonwealth silver medallist of 12 months ago is set to return home in the summer, with the University of Stirling his expected new base. Milne may yet join him there should British Swimming align continued funding to a fresh start.
Most selections for Gwangju, when decisions are taken today, are clear-cut although a few with potential have held up their hands. Scott McLay, pictured, is assuredly in that group and if it is viewed that a 4x100 freestyle relay entry will be submitted for the worlds with one eye on the Olympics, the 19-year old will surely be in the frame. He enhanced his case by equalling Todd Cooper’s Scottish best of 24.05 secs in coming fourth in the 50m butterfly final as world champion Ben Proud claimed victory. “I’ll definitely be excited to see if I get picked or not,” said McLay. “If I do, I’ll have reached one of my targets from the beginning of the season.
“I’d be thrilled. But if not, I’ll take the great swims I’ve had and try and improve.”
Luke Greenbank triumphed by exactly three seconds from Craig McNally in the 200m backstroke final with the Scot conceding he is a long shot for the worlds. “But that was still progress,” the 26-year-old said. Alys Thomas held off Charlotte Atkinson in the women’s 100m butterfly with Edinburgh University’s Tain Bruce sixth.
Jocelyn Ulyett won the 100m breaststroke while Leah Crisp claimed gold in the 1500m freestyle. But there was promise on the Caledonian front with up to eight Scots bound for either the European or world juniors with Warrender’s Archie Goodburn, who won the junior title in the 50m butterfly, elevating his stock.