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Swimming: Murdoch muscles in with another record

ROSS Murdoch stormed to victory at the 2014 British Gas Swimming Championships in Glasgow, successfully defending his 100m breaststroke title as he left Adam Peaty and Michael Jamieson trailing in his wake.

Ross Murdoch celebrates a Scottish record in the 100m breaststroke last night           Photograph: Steve Cox
Ross Murdoch celebrates a Scottish record in the 100m breaststroke last night Photograph: Steve Cox

Fresh from his stellar win in the Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championships last weekend - in which he clocked 59.75 secs and topped the world long-course rankings - Murdoch (University of Stirling) was keen to prove that was no fluke.

And he blew that time out of the water finishing in 59.56 - only 0.001 off Dan Sliwinski's British record - to set back-to-back Scottish records at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

England's Peaty (City of Derby) was second in 59.79 and Olympic silver medallist Jamieson (Bath University) third in 1:00.53.

"Words can't really describe what I'm feeling just now," said Murdoch. "I came through the heats and the semi-finals just behind Adam the whole way.

"After [Friday] night's performance, I wasn't too sure where I was at. That last 25m was hell. I just went out as hard as I could and tried to hang on in the back end.

"That record [Sliwinski's] has stood since the super suits were around, so it's a tough one for any Brit to make, but I've definitely got my eye on that for the future."

Murdoch was reluctant to be drawn on just how fast he believes he can go. "If you start telling people times you start to put a limit on yourself," he said. "I've just got to aim for the sky and keep training as I am because everything is paying off."

The 20-year-old from Balfron, Stirlingshire, made the decision to sit out the 200m breaststroke event on Thursday evening, having already set a Team Scotland nomination time of 2:09.15 mins last week. Among the Scots, only Jamieson has gone faster clocking 2:07.79.

Murdoch will open his challenge for the 50m breaststroke title - a distance over which he set a British record of 27.28 at the last weekend's Scottish trials - this morning.

The men's 100m breaststroke is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and fiercely contested events of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. At present, four British swimmers - Murdoch, Peaty, Jamieson and Christopher Steeples - hold top 10 positions in the world. A further three Scots - Craig Benson, Calum Tait and Jamie Graham - currently sit within the top 20.

In the men's 200m butterfly final, Scotland's Cameron Brodie (Kelly College) claimed bronze in 1:57.96 behind winner Roberto Pavoni (Loughborough University) and Joseph Roebuck (University of Bath). Lewis Smith (University of Stirling) finished eighth in 2:00.21.

English swimmer and birthday girl Fran Halsall (Loughborough University) successfully defended her women's 50m freestyle title for the ninth consecutive time in 24.51, while Scot Sian Harkin (University of Stirling) took silver in 25.07.

Sophie Taylor (City of Leeds) took the women's 200m breaststroke title in an English record of 2:24.46, while Scotland's Hannah Miley (Garioch) finished fifth, but remained philosophical with a nomination time of 2:29.31 on the clock.

In the morning heats, Miley swam 2:28.80. "It's a little bit frustrating to go slower in the final - no one wants to go slower - but to still go under [the nomination time] and faster than I went at the Scottish, I can't complain," she said.

The 24-year-old has already gained nomination times in the 800m freestyle, 200m and 400m individual medley. Miley also plans to target the 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly, saying: "I'm just going to try and see how many events I can qualify for.

"Once the 400 IM is out of the way on day one [of the Games] I can pretty much enjoy and try to race some of these events I don't normally get the opportunity to do at an international level."

Scotland's Emma Chittleburgh (Warrender Baths Club) claimed the junior women's 200m breaststroke title in 2:33.22, while her team-mate Katherine Stark finished joint third in the junior women's 50m freestyle final.

English swimmer Thomas Hamer (Burnley BOBC) took the win in the men's S14 200m freestyle in 2:01.91. The British Gas Swimming Championships are not being used as a selection meet by Scottish para-swimmers for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The British Para-Swimming International Meet 2014 gets under way in Glasgow on Friday.

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