Commonwealth Games 2014: Tears dried, Ross Murdoch eyes second gold of three in the pool

Such was the dominance of his swimming on Thursday there is a justified swirl of excitement surrounding the Scot

Tollcross swimming centre

There were a few minutes more than 13 hours between Ross Murdoch scrambling out of the Tollcross pool, eyes stretched wide at what he had just done in winning the 200m breastroke, and the young man from Stirling University diving back in and getting on with the day job.

That is the swimmer’s lot; all the hard work and hard lengths for a moment of adrenaline-filled joy, then it starts all over again. Yesterday morning it was heats for the 100m breaststroke with Murdoch’s eyes now set on tonight’s final of what is his main event. Then comes the 50m and by Monday evening there is the possibility that the Scot will have three gold medals to his name, a name that was unknown outside select circles within his sport and university common room at the start of the week.

That is getting ahead of ourselves but such was the dominance of his swimming on Thursday there is a justified swirl of excitement surrounding Murdoch, both here in Scotland and within British Swimming, a governing body that is in dire need of a boost on the road to Rio after its dire returns from London 2012. England’s 18-year-old Siobhan O’Connor is another young Briton here worth remembering for the 2016 Games.

There are, of course, the Americans, Japanese, Chinese et al to add to the mix come the next Olympics, but Murdoch’s performance on Thursday will have been noted – twice breaking the Commonwealth Games record in a day. This was the third fastest time swum in the 200m breaststroke; he has become a contender. Next year’s world championships in Russia will give a better indication of how good he is. Michael Jamieson, the favourite left in his wake on Thursday, has no doubt as to the young upstart’s ability.

 

“He is a hell of a talent,” said Jamieson. “He is up there with the best in the world. Ross deserved to win.”

The contrast between Jamieson’s thunderously dark demeanour as he received a silver he did not want and Murdoch’s desperate, and futile, attempts to hold back the tears was acute. The old king found no consolation in coming second. He swum well below his best in both heats and final – and was beaten again by Murdoch in the 100m heats yesterday morning. “I came here to win,” said Jamieson, who had arrived ranked the fastest in the world. “I did not prepare for a second place.”

Jamieson suggested Scotland has become the “strongest nation in the world” in this event. It is one his country, and his Olympic one, Britain, has a rich tradition in. David Wilkie, Olympic gold winner in the 200m breaststroke in 1976, was in the stands on Thursday night. Murdoch started swimming at the age of six on the outskirts of  Glasgow. He grew up in  Balfron, Rob Roy country  in the hills between Stirling and Glasgow, and it was  not until he was 17 that he began to feature at national level. His form this year forced him to wider attention – Rebecca Adlington saw enough to tip him to succeed here. He didn’t let her or anyone else down.

Ross Murdoch on his way to victory on Tuesday night Ross Murdoch on his way to victory on Tuesday night (Getty Images)
His face at the moment of victory will be one of the images of this Games; Jamieson’s on the other hand offers a lesson in why coming second, even if it comes with a medal, is no silver lining.

“How do I come back from this?” wondered Jamieson, the poster boy of the Games. “I don’t know yet. I don’t know. I think this one is going to hurt for a while.” Adlington offered her sympathies – her bronze medals in London were accompanied by similar disappointment.

Tonight will be another new experience for Murdoch. Now he will be the hunted, a different pressure, a different expectation. “This has been mind blowing,” he said. And quite possibly life changing.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific