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Duncan Scott ‘really gutted’ as he makes history but gold just eludes him for a second time in the 200m individual medley

·3-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Duncan Scott made history today but it wasn’t the sort of history he was seeking with silver in the 200metre individual medley.

It made him Britain’s most decorated Olympic swimmer in history, the first since 1908 to win three medals for his country at a Games meet and only the seventh British Olympian in any sport to bag three medals at one Games.

And yet he described himself as “really gutted” in the aftermath as for a second individual final he was pipped to the gold. His previous, the 200m freestyle, had been his No1 event but this result was no lost galling as gold eluded him by 0.28seconds in the form of China’s Wang Sun.

Scott’s silver and the bronze of Luke Greenbank in the 200m backstroke took Britain to six medals in the swimming alone in Tokyo.

But the day’s racing was overshadowed by a doping row sparked from Greenbank’s own race. The silver medallist Ryan Murphy described it as a “race that’s probably not clean” before backing down on the comments and insisting he was not pointing the finger at either Greenbank or winner Evgeny Rylov, of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Greenbank, who shares a coach with Adam Peaty in Mel Marshall, said: “It’s obviously a very difficult situation not knowing whether a race is clean. And it’s frustrating knowing there’s a state-sponsored doping programme going on and not more being done to tackle that.”

A somewhat superstitious Greenbank has not cut his hair for two years now, the thinking being it has created some Samson-like effect with his results improving during that period of time. An appointment at the hairdresser on his return home is not on the agenda.

He and Scott have been together in British swim camps since December 2014, aptly perhaps coming to Japan on that occasion. They roomed together and have been on virtually ever camp since. For both, Japan has been their competitive highlight, and the pair hugged tightly in the bowel’s of Tokyo Aquatics Centre in the aftermath of their respective wins.

Both swimmers will return to the pool for the men’s 4x100m medley relay and another medal is a distinct possibility, plus a potential gold in the 4x100m mixed relay, which Scott is not expected to be involved in.

Of the prospect of another medal and further history making, though, Scott said: “I need to try and put that to the back of my mind. I’m obviously delighted with how things have gone to far with the relay boys and then my two individuals as well.

“I came here to stand on the podium individually and did best times in the final so can’t ask for much more.”

In the race itself, Scott was fifth after the opening butterfly leg and flitted between fifth and sixth going into the final 50m but his freestyle got him oh so close to the gold and the consolation of a second individual Olympic medal.

It was still a personal best, his time for the event having been cut by one-and-a-half seconds over the course of the past year.

Despite that and perhaps in light of his silver, he said he was “still learning the event”.

If Scott is tiring from having swum every day in Tokyo, it didn’t necessarily show in the manner in which he talked effervescently about his own performances, that of his friend Adam Peaty and also the wider team.

Of the challenge he said: “It’s managing yourself physically but I think it’s tougher mentally as well. It’s really draining. It’s important you try to minimise your time in the arena.”

Read More

Team GB up to six medals in the pool up as Duncan Scott wins silver and Luke Greenbank seals bronze

Olympic doping row as Ryan Murphy claims swimming race ‘probably not clean’ after Russian Evgeny Rylov wins

Mark Foster column: I cannot stress how exciting a time it is for British swimming

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