Commonwealth Games 2014: Hannah Miley, Robbie Renwick and Michael Jamieson can give hosts a flying start in the pool
Scottish swimmers hope that the 'first night is going to be electric'
Wednesday 23 July 2014
They are calling it in these parts, with fingers tightly crossed, “Thunder Thursday”. Day one of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games and the script has been written for Scotland to make an early impact. If this is to come to pass – and remember how day one went anything but to plan in London – then it will be in the pool that the hosts’ medals will be won.
The early programme is stacked in Scotland’s favour, or rather in favour of their favourites. Robbie Renwick, Hannah Miley and, in particular, Michael Jamieson all have the ability to make the podium in the Tollcross Swimming Centre tomorrow night, although there are plenty of English and Australian obstacles to get past first.
Four years ago Renwick claimed Scotland’s first gold in Delhi. The freestyler finished sixth in the 200m in London and will defend his 400m title here three days after his 26th birthday. The prospect of an almighty celebration is a tantalising one.
“It’s why I’m in the sport, to win medals at the highest level,” said Renwick. “It was the first Scottish gold medal [in 2010] and Michael, Hannah and myself are all up on day one again. It would be great to get the ball rolling with another gold medal, that’s for sure.
“That first night is hopefully going to be electric. Scottish swimming is looking really strong. We just need to keep ourselves to ourselves and let the performances speak for themselves.”
It will be Miley to have first go – as she did for Britain on the opening day of the Games in London. There she had hopes of a medal in the 400m individual medley but, like the rest of the field, was left in the formidable wake of Ye Shiwen and finished a distant fifth. She is the favourite in the same event here but will face strong competition, not least from her British team-mate Aimee Wilmott. The English woman beat the Scot in January.
“There’s a lot of competition there between me and Hannah now that we have split between Scotland and England and, I think that because we have had the competition and rivalry between us, my performance has improved quite a lot,” Wilmott said.
“I’m looking forward to getting in and racing Hannah and seeing what happens. It could be mine on the day, it could be Hannah’s. It depends on how it all goes – if I don’t get too excited and don’t let all the Scots supporting Hannah get to me. I’ve not thought about it too much – me against Hannah and the rest of Scotland – but it is. There’s the chance that if I can bring home the first medal for England and it’s a gold one, that could get the ball rolling for the rest of the team.”
Jamieson’s big moment comes just after nine tomorrow evening – presuming there has been no disaster in the morning’s heats. He is odds-on for the 200m breaststroke, the event in which he took Olympic silver in London, according to bookmakers but it is a strong field with five of the world’s top eight this year here.
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