With the London Aquatics Centre all but empty last night, Duncan Scott still managed to wow the crowd.

At the outset of British Swimming’s Olympic trials, the 23-year-old destroyed a UK record in his opening gambit in a serious signal of intent for his ambitions in Tokyo this summer. 

His two silvers in Rio in 2016 were acquired in the relays. Second time around, it is individual accomplishment he covets most. And in surging impressively to victory in the 200 metres individual medley in 1 min 55.90 secs, he was according an ovation from the officials on the pool deck, a smile on his face but still, as ever, with ambitions for more. 

The technicalities of the selection policy mean he must await formal confirmation of his entry list for Japan in 12 days time. He will target two further individual berths, in the freestyle, later this week. In reality, he should harbour few fears. 

“As much as it’s a delight to be pre-selected, I’ve got no events guaranteed,” Scott said. “The way British swimming’s been going over the last couple of years and the depth, I need to be on it at the trials to get the events I want to swim. But I’m really happy with my Day 1.” 

Ross Murdoch was among those swept away by the ferocious swell left by Adam Peaty. The defending Olympic champion despatched a pointed message to any would-be rival by posting the year’s quickest time in the morning heats of the 100m breaststroke and them demolishing it in the final with a mark of 57.39 seconds. 

Murdoch was beaten into third by James Wilby but both had to bow to Peaty, who now owns the 20 quickest times in history. “The execution was perfect,” the Englishman declared. “I’m way ahead of where I should be now. So I take a lot of confidence going forward into the summer.” Close to his best, Murdoch’s Tokyo ticket now likely rests on his exertions over 200m on Friday.

Freya Anderson bulldozed her way to victory in the women’s 200m freestyle in the required time of 1:56.80. Edinburgh University’s Lucy Hope boosted her case for a relay slot by coming third in a personal best of 1:57.65.               

Another Stirling contender, Aimee Willmott, bolted clear in the 400m individual medley to triumph by eight seconds in 4:35.70.  Hannah Miley, on her comeback from shoulder surgery, pipped fellow Scot Katie Shahanan to third. 

Kieran Bird slashed four seconds off his previous best to take a surprise win in the men’s 400m freestyle final with City of Perth’s Rio silver medallist Stephen Milne over 17 seconds off the pace.