Kathleen Dawson ‘super-pleased’ with stunning silver at the European Swimming Championships

An emotional Kathleen Dawson saluted her superb silver at the European Swimming Championships in Budapest as another just reward for her graft in bouncing back from the knee injury in 2018 that almost wrecked her career.

Scottish swimmer Kathleen Dawson, right, shows off her silver medal after the 50m backstroke at the European Aquatics Championships in Budapest. Netherlands' Kira Toussaint, centre, won gold and fellow Dutchwoman Maaike De Waard took bronze.

Rebuilt and better than ever before, the 23-year-old from Kirkcaldy is eyeing up Olympic medals in Tokyo.

The 50 metres backstroke here was her warm-up act but she almost stole the show in last night’s final before European record holder Kira Toussaint held onto gold with fellow Dutchwoman Maaike de Waard landing bronze.

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In 2016, Dawson took individual European bronze in London but was compelled to wait until she could properly make her mark again. Here, her time of 27.46secs was shy of the astonishing UK record she set in the semis with Stirling University team-mate Cassie Wild just missing the podium in fourth in a personal best of 27.85. But the Fifer feels ready as the Scottish duo begin their bids in their favoured 100m today.

She said: “I’m super-pleased with myself. With everything I’ve been through since 2016, it’s been a hard journey. But I’m so glad I’ve made it back to the podium. Especially in the 50 where I didn’t expect a medal. I was a bit stagnant for a while even before my knee injury. But I knew my career wasn’t going to be over and I’m so glad I stuck it out.”

Wild also looks well capable of joining her in the medals. “It’s been three years since I’ve been anywhere near my 50 PB,” the 19-year-old from Edinburgh declared. “So that’s good looking towards the 100 and 200.”

Duncan Scott picked up his second silver of the championships by anchoring the UK in the men’s 4x200m freestyle along side Tom Dean, Matthew Richards and James Guy. The 24-year-old could do little to haul back the deficit on Russia who ended over a second clear with a championship best of 7:03.48. But there’ll be more in the tank from the 2016 Olympic silver medallists come Tokyo, he vowed.

“I know I’m looking forward to it but I think you should be as well,” Scott said. “We’ve all learnt different things from that and that will really help us going on in a few months time. It’s great to really challenge ourselves. We’ve had our trials and gone into hard training. It’s another opportunity to race fast and really hard. We come in here with expectations. It’s the ideal opportunity to really test ourselves.”

Scott faces a manic Thursday. He will go fishing for 200m individual medley gold this evening, having eased to third in the semi-finals. Add that to the start of the defence of his 200m freestyle title in this morning’s heats.

He added: “The 200m free will be a dogfight to make it through but I’m looking forward to it.”

His Stirling University team-mate Ross Murdoch will take his shot at repeating the gold he picked up in 2016 in tonight’s 200m breaststroke final.

Keanna Macinnes underlined her potential by reaching today’s women’s 200m butterfly final on her senior debut.

The 18-year-old from Livingston survived the semis as the eighth-quickest qualifier.