Duncan Scott showed he means business here at Glasgow 2019, as on the second morning of action he topped qualification in two events, breaking a British record in the process.
First up was the Men’s 200m Freestyle, the Stirling swimmer the first man through to tonight’s final as he finished head and shoulders above the rest. Winning the fifth heat, Scott obliterated the British record with a 1.40.92 performance, seeing him into the final one and a half seconds quicker than anyone else.
Drawn in the same heat as James Guy, who also had a great swim to touch third and qualify third quickest for the final, Scott pressed hard from the get go, extending his advantage all the way. Going in the previous heat Tom Dean backed up his 400m Freestyle silver from last night with another personal best, however despite being seventh quickest missed out on a final berth due to the two per nation rule.
At the conclusion of all six heats, Guy commented:
“That’s the quickest I’ve been for three years and it just shows that the work I’m doing is working. Duncan went for it this morning and 1.40 is amazingly fast, but hopefully the crowd will be pretty packed tonight and we’ll have a good race.”
World champion Scott returned to the pool in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley, an event he only dabbles with these days, but he really laid down a marker, winning his heat by another healthy margin to lead as British one-two, with Max Litchfield winning the final heat.
Of his morning’s work, a tired Scott surmised:
“I’m treating the heats here like finals, so I’m all in in the mornings and I’m trying to really challenge myself. I knew this was going to be a tough double going all in on both of them, but it’s going to be even tougher next year [at the Olympic Games], so it was a tough turnaround but I’m delighted with both of those swims.
“I came here to challenge myself and expose myself under immense fatigue and see what happens. Am I poor off the wall? How does my technique deal with it? This is exactly what I wanted to get out of it, but I’m hurting now!”
Brodie Williams was the final Brit in action in the 400m Free, but despite a two second personal best he finished 13th overall, outside the top eight needed to progress.
Ross Murdoch attacked his heat of the Men’s 200m Breaststroke with gusto to qualify for tonight’s final. The local hero had looked good in the 50m event yesterday and put that speed to good use in the front end of his race, finishing it off nicely to touch the wall fourth in the final heat and qualify for the final sixth fastest.
“My aim was to get out and attack the swim and I feel like I did that quite well, but maybe the first length was a bit too much. I’ll watch the swim back and see what corrections I can make tonight to get right amongst those boys in the medal hunt. This is my first ever 200m short course final at any international meet, so it’s been a long time coming. Short course is tough for me, as I’m not the biggest of guys, so the power aspect I struggle a little bit, but I’m getting better.”
It wasn’t to be for James Wilby as he missed out on a place in the final, but he’ll go again in the 100m Breaststroke tomorrow.
Britons female sprinters were also in tip-top form on Thursday morning, Freya Anderson and Anna Hopkin topping the standings in the first round of the Women’s 100m Freestyle. Drawn in the same heat the pair were out in front, Anderson stretching away down the final length to head a GB one-two, which made pleasant reading for the home crowd.
Delivering a personal best swim, Anderson said:
“That was really fun. It was all about going out, blowing the cobwebs away and seeing where I was at – I’m pretty happy with that as it was a PB, so what more can I ask for! It’s amazing being back in Glasgow at a home Europeans, and watching the finals last night really got me in the mood to race.”
Both women will return for the semi-final this evening and will be looking to secure centre lanes for tomorrow night’s final.
Sticking with the women’s events, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor made light work of advancing to the semi-finals of the Women’s 100m Individual Medley as she finished third in her heat and seventh overall. Laura Stephens also got her Glasgow 2019 campaign underway in the heats of the Women’s 50m Butterfly, blowing out the cobwebs ahead of the 100m and 200m in the next two days.
The first round of the Men’s 100m Backstroke saw 200m bronze medallist Luke Greenbank return to the water and he safely advanced to the semi-finals and will be joined by Joe Litchfield, who swam a big personal best to claim his spot. Greenbank was fourth in the quickest of the heats, seventh overall, whilst Litchfield was tenth overall, less than a tenth of a second back.
The final event of the morning was the Mixed 4x50m Medley Relay, a Great Britain quartet of Georgia Davies, Ross Murdoch, Scott McLay and Anna Hopkin drawn in lane five in the first of two heats. The team pieced together a solid performance for such a new line-up, building through the race before Hopkin swam a great anchor to bring the team home third to make sure of their final berth.
Full results can be found here
Tickets for the remainder of the European Short Course Swimming Championships can be still be purchased here (limited availability for some sessions), with live streaming of all of the finals available via the the BBC Sport website.