Coach’s suit made lasting impression on Kieran

Kieran McGuckin will swim at Tollcross in the Scottish relay team
Kieran McGuckin will swim at Tollcross in the Scottish relay team

Kieran McGuckin has had his own blue Team Scotland swimming uniforms for several weeks now.

But it is a different uniform which inspired the 23-year-old throughout his swimming career.

When the St Mungo’s pupil, and fellow local swimmer Ross Muir were making waves at the Mariner Centre and Grangemouth Sports Complex with Falkirk Otters, coach Tom Nelson dropped in to their practise.

“He had been a judge at the Commonwealth Games,” explained Kieran “ and was wearing his judging suit.

“It was one of the last times he came down to see us at a session but I remember it because it was inspirational.

“He was an inspirational man for Ross and I before we moved on.”

Tom died a few years ago, but his influence over the Edinburgh University student carries on, as does the memory of the suit.

“He kept us right and really got us interested in swimming and told us about the Games and what to expect in his stories, that gave us a flavour of what to expect – this time though, I think it will be very different with it being at home.”

McGuckin will form one quarter of Scotland’s 4x100m freestyle relay team, and isn’t short on inspiration in real-time, as well as memories.

“Tom’s stories told us some of the things that happened but Iwas in London a couple of years ago when Michael Jamieson won his silver medal. The noise was incredible – that’s what I’m expecting this summer in Glasgow.

“But seeing Michael win a medal and being on the same team as him – that’s inspiration there too.”

Jamieson, Muir and McGuckin will all be away in Barcelona and Tenerife then back to Aberdeen where the swimmers will be based until the Game s begin.

Training has been building up, first to the qualification events in April and then to the Games themselves next month.

Kieran took a year off of his studies at Edinburgh University’s mechanical engineering course to focus on full-time training and is heading back in August once the Games are over.

“It’s a demanding course, and it’s a demanding training regime, so I took a year out.

“But I still have links to the University team who I swim for, three of us in the relay team are on the Edinburgh team so we work together.”

Focus has been placed on the changeovers and Friday is video analysis day with Sunday the solitary day off.

“We’re sent videos of our changeovers and go over them with our coaches to find any way of saving a tenth of a second – that’s how tight it could be,” added McGuckin.

“It’s getting to a really exciting time now and it’s what we’ve waited and worked for.

“I’ve got to thank all my coaches and support staff and family and friends in Falkirk and all over for helping me get this far.”