DUNCAN SCOTT admits that he is going into the unknown this week when he takes on the European Short-Course Championships, which begin in Copenhagen tomorrow. The 20 year-old has had a remarkable couple of years, picking up relay medals at the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships.

But short-course swimming is a whole new ball game for the University of Stirling swimmer. He warmed-up for the European Championships by competing in the Scottish Short-Course Championships in Edinburgh over the weekend, at which he grabbed a victory in the 200m individual medley over his Scotland teammate, Dan Wallace, and that has left him feeling good about his upcoming challenge.

“I’m looking forward to the Europeans – at the Scottish, I did my fastest IM without being tapered or shaved so I’m looking forward to getting to Copenhagen,” he said. “But I’ve never done a senior international short-course event so I’m not sure what to expect.

Loading article content

“I’m doing quite a lot of events in Copenhagen so I’m just looking to have a bit of fun and see what I can do. And I think it’s a good chance for me to go out there and swim some best times because this will be my first major short-course meet so it’ll be good to see how I get on.”

All of Scott’s major championship medals to date have come as part of a relay team and while he admits that while picking up some individual silverware over the next week would be nice, it is not the be all and end all. “It would obviously be nice to win an individual medal but I don’t even know who else is on the entry list,” he said.

“You always get some people who you’ve never heard of swimming ridiculously fast because they’re absolute powerhouses so it’ll be tough. So I’m just looking to put in some good performances.”

This event is as much about fine tuning preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which begin in less than four months and Scott is cognisant of the fact that there is no better place to practice than in a competitive environment.

“It’s important to get some races in – BUCS was my first chance to do some racing this winter then the Scottish was a step up becasue I was up against some top Scottish names like Dan (Wallace) and the Europeans will be another challenge again,” he said.

“I’ll probably be racing some people I’ve never heard of so I don’t know how they’re going to race or what kind of shape they’ll be in but that’s the whole point of racing - it gives you more experience and at the age of 20, that’s exactly what I’m needing.

“I’m still not all that experienced so it’s all about gaining more and more of that.”

Meanwhile Hannah Miley continues to defy the years. She is not racing at the European Championships this week preferring instead to continue her Gold Coast 2018 preparation in the UK at a long-course meet in Sheffield this weekend.

Miley won a hat-trick of titles at Scottish Championships but she was beaten into second in the 200m butterfly by 16 year-old prodigy, Keanna MacInnes, who broke Miley’s Scottish in the process. However, Miley was far from disheartened to see a youngster take the competition to her.

“This meet has been a lot better than I expected and even though Keanna got my record in the 200m butterfly, it was a great swim to be a part of,” she said. “That’s the whole point of sport, it’s about progression and it’s also about meeting new rivals and Keanna’s a huge force coming through.

“That just makes me work harder and that’s what I love about sport – rising to the challenge.”

Despite her defeat though, Miley set a new 200m butterfly personal and she admits to being delighted at how her winter training is progressing. “It’s nice to see that I’m swimming well in the fly,” she said.

“That’s the event that a lot of people say I go out too slow in when I’m doing the medley and it’s good to work on the 200m for my 400m medley so it all ties in nicely,” the double Commonwealth champion said.

“I feel in good shape for this time of year – it’s can be strange because sometimes you can feel amazing be flying and then it doesn’t happen in the spring so I need to make sure that I keep myself grounded and that I keep my head down and continue working hard.

“Swims like at the weekend where I got a new personal best are nice though and it’s encouraging because it shows that the strength and the endurance is there. So I know now that I just need to keep fine tuning things ahead of Gold Coast.”