Countdown to Rio: Swimming's Ross Murdoch

05 August 2014 / 08:42

Home nations enjoyed their most successful Commonwealth Games ever in Glasgow. But who were the stars of the Games, whose targets have now been reset on the road to Rio - with the Olympics just two years away?

A Scottish swimmer was always expected to win the men's 200m breaststroke - it's just few people expected it to be Ross Murdoch.

Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson carried the weight of an expectant nation but it was his 20-year old team-mate that announced himself in sensational style.

He had shaded Jamieson in the heats and went quicker again in the final - setting a new British record of two minutes 07.30 seconds, while second placed Jamieson touched the wall on two minutes 08.40 seconds.

There were the quickest times in the world by anyone this year by some margin. Indeed Murdoch's time was a whole second quicker than the best mark set by Japanese rising star Yasuhiro Koseki and a second and half a half quicker than Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta's season's best. 

It also moved him to third on the all-time world rankings and would have been good enough for silver at the last Olympics and World Championships.

"There's no way that just happened," said Murdoch, who also won 100m breaststroke bronze. "I can't believe it. That was amazing. It's a dream come true.

"It was a massive personal best for me. I didn't think I could do that if I'm honest. I'm so surprised."

Murdoch will now head to this month's European Championships in Berlin, as part of a 23-strong British team whose confidence should be brimming after a memorable Commonwealth Games in the pool.

"He just has this ability to produce another gear," said Jamieson, of his new domestic and world rival. 

"He has certainly stepped up and now has the confidence in himself that he can produce a performance, a big performance, when it really counts."

© Sportsbeat 2014