sport

Murdoch motivated to improve

Scotland's rising star Ross Murdoch will use the frustration of one costly flawed stroke to spur him on as he prepares for the Commonwealths.

The 20-year-old University of Stirling swimmer came within a fraction of a new British record in the 100 metres breaststroke final at the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow which finished on Tuesday night.

He beat compatriot Michael Jamieson and England's Adam Peaty in 59:56 seconds to set a new Scottish record, but just missed out on Dan Sliwinski's 2009 mark of 59.55secs, set during the days of the full-body 'super-suits'.

That frustration was still evident when he returned to the same venue on Wednesday for the announcement of Team Scotland's 40-strong aquatic team for the Games, but Murdoch vowed to turn it into a positive over the next few months.

He said: "I didn't think I would get that close to it if I am really honest.

"The thing that made it a little more frustrating for me was that with the first stroke out, I remember throwing my hands and was feeling great but then my foot just catches some air. So it wasn't the best breakout stroke that I have had.

"It wasn't even one full stroke, it was just the kick that has done for me.

"So maybe if that stroke had been perfect, it could have changed the result that night, but I did my best and I can't complain.

"It was a PB, I retained my title, I got my gold medal and I couldn't have asked for more.

"So I'm not bitter, but I will use that as ammunition, every day in training, knowing how close I came and how much further I have to go to reach my potential."

Murdoch was one of 38 swimmers and two divers in Scotland's biggest aquatics team for a Commonwealth Games and he was thrilled with meeting all his team-mates at the press conference.

He said: "Sitting there with all the rest of the

people who have been confirmed on the team, all the dreams became a reality.

"It was a huge honour to be sat beside people like Michael Jamieson, Robbie Renwick and Hannah Miley, it is still a bit surreal to think

I am the same standard of athlete now."

Indeed, over the past couple of weeks Murdoch has proved he is a force to be reckoned with, winning both the 100m and 50m titles at the Scottish Championships in new Scottish and British records and taking silver in the 200m.

He enhanced his credentials at the British Championships by powering his way to victory in the 100m to go top of the world long-course rankings and then took silver in the 50m event.

Murdoch put his improvement down to his move to a change of coach and his move to train at the University of Stirling.

"I am in the shape of my life, I put that down to my new coach Ben Higson," he said. "I train at the University of Stirling and we have a fantastic set-up there.

"I feel really privileged to be part of that programme which is focused around higher goals.

"Some of the best athletes in the world come through these places and they all want to be the best in their game, and it makes you want that too."