Grangemouth trained swimmer Duncan Scott landed two Olympic silver medals in Rio, and his coach Steve Tigg says the local swimming set-up played a massive role in his success.
Tigg has known the 19-year-old for more than a decade, discovering his talent in Scott’s hometown of Alloa, progressing him through the pools at the Falkirk Integrated Regional Swimming Team (FIRST) and on to Commonwealth and Olympic glory.
Shortly after leaving FIRST, where he trained with first Bo’ness then Grangemouth ASC, Scott secured a Commonwealth silver medal in Glasgow two years ago but went even further by landing two second-place finishes in the pool at Rio this year.
Now Tigg coaches Scott as part of the University of Stirling, but the foundations at Falkirk in his seven years training locally contributed to the success. Speaking on his first day back in the UK after taking in the events in Rio for himself, Tigg said: “FIRST really has been a huge assistance to athletes in the local area.
“Duncan has come through to the world level and there are a lot more coming through locally. It’s almost unique and it’s fantastic how well it works collaboratively between the clubs involved.
“Duncan’s success can rub off and maybe we can have others pushing on and following him.”
Scott also took a commendable fifth in the 100m freestyle event – but his coach reckons the best is yet to come and in DIFFERENT events!
“The event he qualified in wasn’t even his best, in our opinion. He’s probably best suited for the 200m individual medley or freestyle.
“Going in we knew we had a chance in both relays. In the 100m free he had enough to get through the rounds and thought he could make the final.
“Beforehand we thought 47.8s would have been enough to take a medal and he would have and should have had it been just about any mjor championships around the world... but he’s certainly chuffed with it and the time. It is a building block.
“The main thing about this year has been laying the foundations. Tokyo in 2020 was always the aim and it continues to be. The medals now, they’re a real added bonus and richly deserved. There was an opportunity of one in the 4x200m we thought, but it’s never a foregone conclusion, especially with a field and competition as big and intense as the Olympics.”
From a young age Tigg has known the swimmer, and known he had the potential to go far in the pool.
Swimming coach Steve Tigg added: “I’ve known him since he was seven and he came along to Alloa where I was a volunteer coach. I gave him his club trial.
“Even then you saw he had something you can’t quite put a finger on. I’ve worked with him ever since... from 2004 to now.
“From the early days he had a good float. He was like a little waterfly just on the surface of the water, really light. He has good parents and support behind him, and always has.
“He was responsive and keen, the way he could respond to a challenge and take it on and progress, it showed he had something.”
From Alloa, both moved to FIRST and he kept progressing there, first with Bo’ness and then with Grangemouth ASC.
Then Tigg moved to the University of Stirling and after qualifiying for the Commonwealth Games where he also took a silver in 2014, Scott followed in his coach’s wake shortly after.
Duncan is due back in Britain on August 23 but will spend time in London doing media work as a medallist, then return to Scotland.
However he can’t rest too much on his laurels, or his double medals, he has world championships to prepare for... then the Commonwealth Games in two years on the Gold Coast in Australia and the Euros that year too, much closer to home – in Glasgow.
Coach Tigg added: “We’re on the four-year cycle like most sports culminating at the Olympics -- quadrennial.
“But we have this to use as a benchmark and move on and measure the next improvements.
“Taking two medals at the Olympics, it’s as good as he could have hoped for.
“We’re right where we always hoped we would be and are on course for the World championships now, but it’ll be very competitive again.”