IT HAS a total population of just over 14,000, is not much more than 360 acres ... and has now won so many Commonwealth medals for swimming that if Stirling University was a country it would be number five on the medals board for the sport.

Scotland has been enjoying huge successes at this year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, having already won 43 medals by Saturday, well above its previous “away” record of 29 in Melbourne in 2006 and not far off the 53 it bagged during the Glasgow’s Games in 2014.

However sports commentators have pointed to the amazing success of Stirling University athletes, in particular swimmers such as Duncan Scott, a third year student who has won six medals – including a gold for 100m freestyle – at the competition. Meanwhile University of Stirling swimmer Aimee Willmott landed England’s first gold medal earlier this month with a dramatic victory in the 400m individual medley final.

Members of the University’s sports performance team have now worked out that if the campus was a country it would have come within the top five in the swimming medal board, and 17th on the overall medals boards – which is ranked by the number of medals that it has won – beating 23 Commonwealth countries including Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Northern Ireland.

Last night Scotland was sitting in eighth place with nine gold medals, while host nation Australia was far in the lead with 75 golds. England was in second place and India in third. Totals will be tallied after the final events have taken place later today.

Cathy Gallagher, director of Sport at University of Stirling – designated the country’s University for Sporting Excellence by the Scottish Government – said that its sports-focused approach was apparent by the success of students at the Games. She added: “Sport has always been a major part of our culture and, with such quality-high performance programmes, we are fortunate to see our athletes, and coaches, enjoy regular success on the international stage.”

She claimed that while the athletes themselves deserved the credit, University of Stirling had helped to support them along with partner organisations based in Stirling including the Scottish Institute of Sport, Scottish Swimming and Triathlon Scotland. She claimed a combination of an “outstanding coaching team”, state-of-the-art facilities and highly qualified support team, had helped the athletes reach their potential.

She said: “As a country, Scotland has enjoyed a fantastic Games out on the Gold Coast and the success will certainly inspire the next generation of athletes. We must build on these successes by providing environments conducive to high performance sport and increasing opportunities for young athletes to flourish.”

Robbie Renwick, Scottish swimmer and Olympic Silver medallist, said that the success of young swimmers such as University of Stirling student Duncan Scott reflected the quality of training on offer on campus. He said: “He’s still so young and he’s an incredibly exciting swimmer. The fact that he has trained here also shows how great the facilities are.”

Renwick, who represented Scotland and Great Britain for nine years until he retired in December 2016, also trained at the university from 2010-14 after leaving Strathclyde University to focus on his sport. He claimed one major benefit was that everything was in one place, allowing on-campus students to more easily combine training with study. While in Glasgow he found it challenging to schedule in swimming sessions in the east end combined with gym sessions in the southwest of the city and city centre lectures.

“Stirling University is very pro-sports and that is nurtured,” he added. “If you need deadlines extended or exams deferred that can be arranged. It’s great to see Stirling swimmers do so well in the Gold Coast. It’s such an exciting time for sport in Scotland, especially swimming.”

Helen Plank of Scottish Swimming said it was “delighted” with the performance of the whole aquatics team. She added: “University of Stirling is one of our key performance centres alongside Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow and the success of the team is a result of the high-quality coaching, investment and support from our partners and commitment the athletes put in. Aquatics is in a great place in Scotland.”