European swimmers claim 10 medals on day two of the Commonwealth Games including titles for Duncan Scott (Scotland) and Ben Proud (England)
By Nick Hope
LEN Digital Editor
Scotland’s Duncan Scott avenged his Tokyo 2020 defeat by surging to victory over Olympic champion Tom Dean of England in the 200m final in Birmingham.
Dean’s victory in Japan was a shock and while Scott went on to claim four medals – and become Team GB’s most successful Olympian at a single Games – he left disappointed.
Scott missed the World Championships in Budapest last month after contracting Covid-19 ahead of competition, while Dean warmed up for Birmingham 2022 with bronze in the event.
The Englishman led the field for the first 150m in this final, but his Scottish rival, who saluted the crowd ahead of the race – signalling a more relaxed approach that usual – timed his attack to perfection.
He finished in one minute 45.02 to claim the eighth Commonwealth medal of his career, with Dean second (1:45.41) and Elijah Winnington of Australia (1:45.62) third.
Just over an hour later Scott would return to claim an incredible second medal of the night with bronze in the 400m individual medley.
“It is a really tough double, but it’s about managing it,” admitted Scott to the BBC after the 400m IM final.
Reflecting on his success in the 200m freestyle event earlier he added that he and Dean “love” their friendly rivalry.
“It’s a really positive thing and it’s a nice change with Scotland vs England but it’s really good for us and Great Britain because in Paris (2024 Olympics) there’s that 4x200m which we won in Tokyo and want to do again.”
In response Dean emphasised their “friendship comes before the rivalry.”
“We’re great pals in and out of the pool, it’s a healthy competition which is going to be good for the sport, good for Great Britain when we do come together and good for the Commonwealth sport showing what we’re capable of,” he said.
Earlier in the evening 50m freestyle world champion Ben Proud claimed the host nation’s first swimming gold of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with victory in the 50m butterfly.
Proud won the event at Glasgow 2014, but was controversially disqualified at Gold Coast 2018 and admitted this victory was “emotional” after that journey and missing out on a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“I’ve dedicated my life to swimming and the sport in a way that probably not that many people have,” she stated after posting a new Commonwealth Games record of 22.81 seconds.
“This is the achievement that I can take away and say that I’ve done for the rest of my life and be really happy with.
“I can’t say I’ll be here in four years to retain that title again, who knows. But to me, this was my legacy swim and I’ve done it.”
Imogen Clark, who suffers with epilepsy and was told to quit the sport as a child, produced a lifetime best to claim 50m breaststroke silver for England.
Her time of 30.02 was also a new British record in the event.
“That’s probably some of the best racing I’ve experienced in my life,” she said. “I’ve just never been in an arena like this, it’s an absolute honour just to be a part of that race tonight.”
There was also European success in the two of the Para swimming finals on day two of the Commonwealth Games with Stephen Clegg of Scotland claiming S13 50m freestyle silver.
In the women’s equivalent Hannah Russell of England also took second in a race won by Australia’s world champion who set the first world record in the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre venue with a time of 26.56.
A brilliant underwater off the wall at the halfway stage of the men’s 100m backstroke final put England’s Brodie Williams into medal contention and he would take silver, with a lifetime best of 53.91 seconds, behind Pieter Coetze of South Africa.
“I’m in a bit of shock,” he admitted after the race.
“I thought I was going to do the 400IM today but we saw the 100m (backstroke) was wide open and I took my chance.”
England finished the night with two silver medals, finishng second to Australia in the women’s and men’s 4x100m freestyle finals.
Three-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty, who only returned to full-time pool training four weeks ago after a broken foot saw him miss the World Championships, eased into Sunday’s 100m breaststroke final with the quickest time – 59.02.
He will also be joined by day one 200m breaststroke medallists James Wilby (England) and Ross Murdoch (Scotland).