Tuesday 1st May 2018

Heroes’ Welcome For Stirling’s Gold Coast Stars

The University of Stirling’s top athletes have been given a heroes’ welcome on their return to campus after starring at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The group brought home 11 medals from Australia, with third-year swimming scholar, Duncan Scott, becoming the most decorated Scottish athlete at a single Games, as he won six medals at the Optus Aquatic Centre.

The 20-year-old-won bronze in the 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 4x100m freestyle relay, alongside Stirling teammates Scott McLay and Craig McLean, before going on to claim a sensational gold in the 100m freestyle, a further bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay and silver in the 200m individual medley.

Commenting on his success, Scott said: “Gregor Tait used to hold the title of the most successful athlete at a single Games and he was amazing for the sport: he’s helped all the swimmers that are performing now to come through.

“I’ve been a World Champion as part of a relay team but to be Commonwealth Champion individually is great.”

Other medals in the pool for Stirling athletes included Aimee Willmott, 25, who landed England’s first gold medal of the Games in the 400m individual medley, while Ross Murdoch, 24, won silver for Scotland in the 200m breaststroke. If entered as its own team, the University would have finished fifth in the Games’ swimming medal standings.

Out of the pool, Stirling graduate, Marc Austin, 24, put in a hugely impressive performance to take bronze in the triathlon.Welcoming the athletes back to campus, University of Stirling Principal, Professor Gerry McCormac, said: “I am delighted and immensely proud of our athletes who have returned from Australia with two gold, two silver and seven bronze medals.

“The achievements are testament to the hard work and dedication of our athletes and coaches here at Stirling, and, once again, re-emphasises our position as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.”

Eight swimmers who train at the National Swimming Academy, based at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, were selected for the Games. Scott, Willmott, Murdoch, McLay and McLean, were joined by Scotland’s Kathleen Dawson and Craig Benson, as well as Northern Ireland’s Calum Bain. All are coached by Steven Tigg, Head Performance Swimming Coach who was also part of the Team Scotland coaching group in Australia, supported by Bradley Hay and Josh Williamson. Former Stirling scholar Grant Sheldon also competed alongside Austin in the triathlon.

The athletes are now back in full training and preparing for demanding summer schedules, with the swimmers working towards the European Championships in Glasgow whilst the triathletes’ focus will be on World and European Series events.