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Freedom fighter bows out in style

He may have had to settle for silver this time around but freedom fighter Dan Wallace once again created havoc at Tollcross last night, this time even before he got into the water.

Dan Wallace comes out with his kilt before claiming silver in the men's 400m medley at Tollcross last night. Picture: Mark Mainz
Dan Wallace comes out with his kilt before claiming silver in the men's 400m medley at Tollcross last night. Picture: Mark Mainz

Entering the arena in his kilt the 400 metres individual medley champion was in the mood to celebrate from the off and was welcomed by a chorus of "for freedom" from his pool-side team-mates, echoing the reaction of the 21-year-old from Edinburgh to his victory last Friday evening.

Wallace responded by urging the crowd to make more noise, grinning from ear to ear as the team began to chant: "Let's go Wallace, let's go!"

It would have been easy to conclude that emotions had got the better of him when he was in last place at the halfway mark. However, just as he had done in the longer event, he surged through the field on the breaststroke leg, turning in second place and going even further clear of the South African Chad le Clos with his freestyle as he finished less than a second behind Australia's Dan Tranter who set a Games record of 1:57.83.

The kilt was back on as this modern Scottish swimming hero received his medal from one of the all-time greats, David Wilkie, the 1972 Olympic 200m breaststroke gold medallist. Having taken the team medal haul into double figures - three gold, three silver and four bronze in all - Wallace was lapping up every moment of it saying that all the hoopla was only ever going to help him.

"It's the last night as a host nation. Even if you're not swimming your heart rate's up the whole night and it's just an unforgettable experience for everyone," he said of his team's reaction to his emergence from the call room.

"That [shouting 'for freedom'] was just them having a bit of fun with me and I loved it. I was having a bit of a laugh before we dived in but I was still focused and I just enjoyed myself.

"I'm the kind of guy that thrives off that kind of energy and the crowd definitely had a huge part in my whole week's swimming results. You can hear them the last 50, the first 50 and when you walk out. It's absolutely unforgettable and I just loved it all.

"It was a team decision [to wear the kilt]. All Team Scotland are wearing them out on poolside. It's just a great experience and we're all just enjoying ourselves so I thought it would be a nice touch and I think the crowd really liked it.

"Being Scottish all these little things are just a bit of fun. It's definitely the most fun I've ever had at a meet.

"It's been amazing. I've had so many people reach out to me to tell me how well I've done, how I've made Scotland proud and that really has warmed my heart to touch so many people."

The scheduling had worked out superbly, allowing all three of Scotland's gold medallists to take a final plunge in front of the rapturous Tollcross crowd last night and clearly revelled in the warmth of their reception.

There was another flurry of kilts as Ross Murdoch, winner of the men's 200 metres breaststroke and team-mates Ryan Bennett, Cameron Brodie and Robbie Renwick arrived for the final race, the 4x100m medley and while they could only manage seventh place as England rounded off their superb meet, it hardly seemed to matter because it was clearly time to party.

Before all of that Hannah Miley had once again cranked up the atmosphere at the start of the evening finally bringing her ridiculous schedule to a close in the 400m freestyle where she just missed out on a third medal on what was her 13th outing across the six days, finishing fourth behind New Zealand's Lauren Boyle, who set a new Games record of 4:04.47, Jazz Carlin of Wales and Bronte Barratt of Australia.

Kathleen Dawson finished fifth in the women's 50m backstroke and, along with team-mates Katie Armitage, Fiona Donnelly and Sian Harkin, fourth in the 4x100m medley relay, while Stephen Milne finished fifth in the 1500m freestyle.

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