Duncan Scott talks up Team GB’s swimmers ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Duncan Scott during the kitting out session for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (PA Wire)
22:00pm, Sun 18 Jul 2021
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European and Commonwealth champion Duncan Scott says Team GB are in a “phenomenal position” as the swimmers hope to go one better than their 4x200m freestyle silver from Rio.

The 24-year-old was part of that relay and also helped the team to another silver in the 4×100 medley at the 2016 Games, and he added the future looked bright for the swim squad beyond Tokyo.

Scott said: “The 4x200m is in a phenomenal position, (but) we can’t get complacent.

“Our individual times added up are really good, but it’s nothing to say that other countries won’t drop and we need to go there and be at our absolute best to be really competitive.

“A lot of the relay teams that I’m part of are really good which I always enjoy being a part of.

“We’ve got a lot of youngsters in that team (4x100m) – mental that I’m one of the oldest in that team at 24 – and I think that’s really exciting, not only for this Olympics but potentially for later ones as well.

“Maybe a bit more for Paris and thereafter, but there’s no reason why we can’t go into these Olympics with some really high ambitions which is really exciting.”

Scott set personal bests at the British trials in the 200m freestyle and individual medley and said his best could be yet to come.

“(I came) out knowing I can do quite a few things differently, happyish with the way that I swam them but I think I can clean quite a few bits up and the way I was building or attacking certain elements in the race weren’t the way that I wanted to do it,” he said.

I know if I swim at my best, I'll be there or thereabouts, I did some nice drops at the trials and for me, I've really got to focus on myself

“I have times that I want to achieve and there are times that I think I can go quicker but at the end of the day it’s the Olympics, as much as times are great, if I can get through the rounds and if I can put myself in a position to be in an Olympic final then for me times go out the window at that point. It’s a race.”

Glasgow-born Scott helped Britain to a 4x100m medley gold medal at the 2019 World Championships at Gwangju, and rose to greater prominence when he refused to share the podium with gold medallist Sun Yang after claiming bronze in the 200m freestyle.

Yang had previously been banned for doping offences.

He said: “Doing and making that stance was for a purpose of clean sport, it was nothing personal against anyone and I think that was seen in the right way.”

Questioned on whether he was concerned about a perceived drop in drug testing during the pandemic, he said: “It’s not something I’ve thought about. I know if I swim at my best, I’ll be there or thereabouts, I did some nice drops at the trials and for me, I’ve really got to focus on myself.

Swimming is not like many team sports, it’s a bit like athletics in that we get our own lane. You can’t influence what someone else does in the lane next to you, so you’ve just got to focus on your own race.”

Regardless of what happens in the pool, Scott will have reason to look back on 2021 with pride having finished a degree in Business and Sports Studies at the University of Stirling last month.

He said: “I think half way through my second year, I was like ‘I need to try and work something out with the uni, I’m finding this really difficult to manage’.

“I did my first two years full-time, and I split third and fourth year up. I would have finished in 2020 but I decided to take January to June out, I was like ‘Oh, the Olympics, I’ll take that out’, but it never happened.

“I did really enjoy it and I found it really challenging. Being dyslexic and not really enjoying school too much and being stuck in a classroom, I’m really proud of the fact I was able to get a 2:1.”

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