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Erraid Davies: home crowd spurred me on to medal win

New teenage swimming star Erraid Davies has praised the home crowd for spurring her on to win a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The 13-year-old became an instant Scottish crowd favourite as she was roared on by a packed-out Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow to finish third in the para-sport 100m breaststroke final yesterday.

The Shetland schoolgirl, Scotland's youngest-ever team member at a Commonwealth Games, said: "I was just really happy, I didn't expect it.

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"It was really, really good. It was nice to have a home crowd and you can hear them when you come up for breath which makes you want to swim faster.

"I train in a 16.6m pool and you just do a lot of turns, it's different but you get used to it."

Davies took a standing ovation in her stride following the medal ceremony and revealed that she had only told a couple of people back home that she would be competing at the Games.

The teenager said the attention she has received since her win was "weird" and something she never expected.

She said she probably would not wear her medal when she returns to school after the summer holidays but would take it with her to show her classmates.

Asked what her plans were next, she said: "I will try to get into Rio 2016 but I'm not sure - I'll just see what I get.

"I just love swimming."

Davies set a new personal best for the second time in a day as she fought her way into a medal position.

She finished strongly just behind Australian silver medallist Madeleine Scott in one minute and 21.38 seconds, with New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe taking gold.

Her proud parents, David, 59, and Joyce, 54, said watching their daughter's bronze-winning swim was a moment they would never forget.

Mr Davies said: "She got into swimming because she developed a hip condition called Perthes' disease when she was three and was told she was not to do any weight-bearing exercises and that the best thing for her was to swim.

"We had just moved to Shetland and she couldn't swim, but she was soon taught and she has virtually never been out of the pool since."

He added: "She came in to the Games not knowing what she could achieve. At Erraid's age, knocking a couple of seconds of your time is not difficult, but she knocked nearly five seconds off it and that's what brought her the success.

"She deserves it, she worked really hard."

Mrs Davies said: "It was just amazing. We were so incredibly excited.

"Erraid can't remember not swimming - she was only just four when she started on a fairly regular basis in the pool.

"After school swimming was just normal routine every day because she spent the day in a wheelchair in school, so she was desperate to use up some of her energy and also cope with the frustration of that disability, so it meant a lot to get into the pool and be able to move and not feel so much pain.

"Also to be really good at a sport because she couldn't do the school sports days - she couldn't do the running and the skipping and everything.

"Swimming is more than just a hobby, swimming's been a lifetime activity. I just can't imagine Erraid without swimming."

Mrs Davies said swimming had completely transformed her daughter's life.

"From being four until the age of eight she was in a wheelchair - so there was a lot of frustration, a lot of emotion that Erraid felt that we coped with by swimming," she said.

"Swimming is in our life every day and Erraid coped by being able to be the best in the pool."

Mr Davies added: "For Erraid, she went into it as just another gala and I think that was the right attitude.

"She managed to soak up some of the atmosphere because she had been at the pool every day so she knew what it was like. But when she went on the blocks, for her, it was just another swim."

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