ROSS Murdoch beat out compatriot Michael Jamieson at the Scottish Gas National Open Swimming Championships for the 100 metre breaststroke title last weekend.
Despite being the less-decorated of the two Murdoch’s rise to prominence has added real competition to Olympic silver medallist Jamieson.
In winning the 50 metre and 100 metre races Murdoch also set new Scottish (for the 100) and British (the 50) records with times of 59.75 and 27.28 respectively.
With these two now engaged in a Ronaldo versus Messi-like rivalry, albeit much more friendly, there is a debate about who will bring home the most medals for Team Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Jamieson triumphed over Murdoch in Friday’s 200 metre breaststroke event with a time of 2:08.01. Murdoch also posted a Commonwealth qualifying time despite being just over a second behind (for a sense of perspective, Jamieson’s time is 0.73 seconds off of the world record set by Daniel Gyurta at the London 2012 Olympics). Much like Formula 1 racing, a second can be quite a long time in swimming. With that in mind note that Jamieson only trailed Murdoch by 0.07 seconds in the 100 metre event.
The pair are stacked at one win a piece against each other, and finishing runner up to each other in those races, suggesting that Team Scotland have two swimmers that both want to take the lead for their country and splash in the glory.
“Being an ambassador for the Games it would have been a hell of a story if I hadn’t made the team, so it’s good to get that out the way.”
Murdoch spoke to the BBC after his 50 metre win and had an air of confidence, disguised as modesty: “I came into the meet unrested, so it is a big relief.” For being ‘unrested’, Murdoch had a pretty good outing. His aforementioned 27.28 time is the fastest in the world this year. Murdoch is the rising star at 20 years of age. His personality could capture the hearts of the nation.
Behind these two is Robbie Renwick, the Wayne Rooney of the who comes after Messi and Ronaldo debate. Renwick is a quintessential team player, evidenced by his comments to the BBC: “There were a lot of strong swimmers in that [200 metre freestyle] final and Scotland can put together another great 4x200m freestyle team”.
Renwick has been part of two silver medal-winning Scottish 4×200 metre freestyle teams at the Commonwealth Games and took part in the same event for Team GB at Beijing 2008. Renwick has achieved some individual success in the 200 metre freestyle, winning gold in Delhi in 2010. By winning at the recent Championships at the Tollcross Swimming Centre he increased his hopes of defending that title.
Jamieson look like the favourite to medal in the 200 metre breaststroke and could go on to win considering Hungarian rival Gyurta will not be there. Murdoch will look to build on his current form and solidify and expand his dominance in the shorter breaststroke events. Renwick is right to be positive about the team event but will need to improve on current form to claim a medal in his signature 200 metre freestyle event.
Renwick’s individual medal chances are limited really to the 200 metre freestyle and it is a big ask for him to win gold again. Murdoch and Jamieson are both good bets for at least one medal of any colour – but who will claim more, and who can claim he coveted gold?
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