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Sport Swimming
NOC Great Britain   
Born14 Jan 1994 in Alexandria, SCO
Height1.83 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Partner Andrea
Stirling, SCO
Higher education
Exercise Science, Sports Science - University of Stirling: Scotland
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He learned to swim at age four at his local pool in the Vale of Leven, Scotland, and started getting into competitive swimming at age eight. "I just took to the water straight away. It was always going to be swimming for me."
Why this sport?
"I had trained at the West Dunbartonshire club since I was 13 but I always wanted to focus on school. It was my coach, Jimmy Orr, who sat me down and told me if I wanted to make it in the sport then I had to take things much more seriously. The 22nd of August 2011 was the day that my life changed. I stepped up training and that first week was great. Then I hit a wall and I was in so much pain, but when I started complaining Jimmy just asked me, 'What do you want?' I had watched the [2010] Commonwealths in Delhi and the [2012] Olympics in London on television and I wanted to be one of the people taking part."
Club / Team
University of Stirling : Scotland
Name of coach
Steven Tigg [club]; Bradley Hay [club]
International Debut
Competing for
Great Britain
General Interest
Listening to music, cooking. (The Scotsman YouTube channel, 02 Aug 2018)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the 200m breaststroke at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. (dailyrecord.co.uk, 04 Aug 2019; heraldscotland.com, 02 May 2021)
Most influential person in career
Coaches David Duncan and Scott Oliver. (rossmurdoch.co.uk, 14 Apr 2015; The Scotsman YouTube channel, 02 Aug 2018)
Hero / Idol
Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta, Japanese swimmer Kosuke Kitajima. (backarisingstar.com, 15 Mar 2012)
In January 2017 he suffered a back injury after returning home from a weekend trip to Skye, Scotland, which he attributed to long hours spent driving and outdoor activities. He returned to competition at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. (thescottishsun.co.uk, 01 Apr 2018; SportsDeskOnline, 01 Jan 2018)

A chest infection forced him to withdraw from the 2014 World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar. (bbc.co.uk, 02 Dec 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I don't have to strive for greatness every day. If I can just be good every day and do the little things right, that'll add up to something big in the end." (eveningexpress.co.uk, 02 Jul 2019)
Awards and honours
He received the Nancy Riach Memorial Medal from Scottish Swimming in 2014 and 2015. The honour is presented to the athlete who best enhanced or upheld the prestige of Scottish Swimming over the year. (swimswam.com, 20 Sep 2015, 13 Sep 2014)

In 2014 he was named Sports Personality of the Year at the Scottish Sports Awards. (scottishswimming.com, 08 Dec 2014)
Other information
He said in 2019 that he still felt defined by his gold medal in the 200m breaststroke at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He has described that medal as the "best and worst thing that ever happened" to him, and says he still hopes to break that personal best time. "Success for me looks like a personal best time I've been looking for since 2014. That swim at the minute still defines my career. I think the result will always define me, not only from a media point of view, from a spectator point of view, but from my own personal point of view - there can't be much to top that swim. But, in terms of the time, I'm not very happy I peaked at [age] 20. I still feel like I've got more to give. Of course, it would be amazing to win an Olympic gold medal and for that to be the thing I'm known for rather than Glasgow. Maybe that's not realistic, but nobody is fighting to lose." (eveningexpress.co.uk, 02 Jul 2019; thenational.scot, 01 Dec 2019; bbc.com, 14 Mar 2019)

He contemplated retiring after he failed to qualify for the 100m breaststroke final at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "There absolutely was a time when I didn't think I was going to come back. I thought, 'I don't want to go through that again. I really don't want to build myself up for four years and then have this thing that you thought was going to be the pinnacle of your sporting career be so underwhelming'. It wasn't until March last year [2017] that I found a love for swimming again. There was a day when I sat down with my coach and my psychologist and my nutritionist and I was like, 'Right, I'm just letting you know that I'm screwing the nut and I'm going to make it'. I like the structure of swimming, I like the discipline, I enjoy racing, I want to compete. Competitiveness is in my blood and I need to do it." After the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he again considered quitting. "A few weeks into lockdown I was thinking - can I really see myself hacking through this for another year? I really wasn't sure if I wanted to. I had an asterisk beside my name on the British Swimming funding because if I didn't make the Olympic team, I'd lose my funding and that's a tough place to be. It puts a lot of pressure on you, and did I really want to be the guy that was hanging on with the asterisk beside his name and didn't make it, or do I want to go out on my own terms?" (bbc.co.uk, 30 Mar 2018; heraldscotland.com, 06 Jan 2018; scotsman.com, 01 May 2021)

He could not afford a proper swimming suit until age 18, when he began receiving funding from Scottish Swimming. "The suits had been too expensive, so I would turn up for races in trunks I'd been wearing for months. They were baggy but I was still racing PBs. To be honest I didn't need anything else. I prided myself on being that guy who didn't need the racing trunks, the fancy suit or the money. I grew up in an ex-council house my granny bought before she died. That's the sort of upbringing I had. I wouldn't change it for the world." (thescottishsun.co.uk, 01 Apr 2018)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
12 2021 Tokyo, JPN 200m Breaststroke 2:09.97
Semifinal 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 100m Breaststroke 1:00.05
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Semifinal 2019 Gwangju, KOR 200m Breaststroke 2:08.51
4 2017 Budapest, HUN 200m Breaststroke 2:08.12
8 2017 Budapest, HUN 100m Breaststroke 59.45
2 2017 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
5 2017 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
3 2015 Kazan, RUS 100m Breaststroke 59.09
4 2015 Kazan, RUS 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:30.67
1 2015 Kazan, RUS 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
Semifinal 2013 Barcelona, ESP 100m Breaststroke 1:00.07
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 50m Breaststroke 28.00
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:35.23
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
10 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 200m Breaststroke 2:05.11 
Semifinal 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 100m Breaststroke 57.77
5 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:25.77
European Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2021 Budapest, HUN 200m Breaststroke 2:08.58
Heats 2021 Budapest, HUN 100m Breaststroke 1:00.19
Heats 2021 Budapest, HUN 50m Breaststroke 27.73
4 2018 Glasgow, SCO 200m Breaststroke 2:08.55
Heats 2018 Glasgow, SCO 100m Breaststroke 59.14
Semifinal 2018 Glasgow, SCO 50m Breaststroke 27.39
2 2016 London, ENG 100m Breaststroke 59.73
1 2016 London, ENG 200m Breaststroke 2:08.33
3 2016 London, ENG 50m Breaststroke 27.31
1 2016 London, ENG 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
2 2014 Berlin, GER 200m Breaststroke 2:07.77
Heats 2014 Berlin, GER 50m Breaststroke  DNS
2 2014 Berlin, GER 100m Breaststroke 59.43
1 2014 Berlin, GER 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
1 2014 Berlin, GER 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
European Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
8 2019 Glasgow, SCO 100m Breaststroke 57.07
7 2019 Glasgow, SCO 200m Breaststroke 2:03.86
Semifinal 2019 Glasgow, SCO 50m Breaststroke 26.38
7 2019 Glasgow, SCO 4 x 50m Medley Relay 1:39.14
Heats 2019 Glasgow, SCO 4 x 50m Medley Relay  
9 2017 Copenhagen, DEN 200m Breaststroke 2:06.31 
8 2017 Copenhagen, DEN 100m Breaststroke 57.51
Heats 2017 Copenhagen, DEN 50m Breaststroke 27.03