Seconds out from Duncan earning a first World medal

Duncan Scott. Pic by Neil Hanna
Duncan Scott. Pic by Neil Hanna

With relay medals at every major level despite being just 20 years of age, it is easy to forget that Duncan Scott is still a relative newcomer compared to his rivals in the pool.

In Budapest on Tuesday evening, he went into his maiden World Championship 200m freestyle final, with Olympic gold medallist Sun Yang on one side and teammate and defending champion James Guy on the other.

The fact that Scott had qualified as the fastest swimmer for the medal race says a lot about the recent progression – and potential for future success – by the young swimmer.

But experience told as Sun paced his race to perfection to come through and take his second gold of the competition – and ninth World title overall – while Scott was fourth, missing out on a medal by four hundredths of a second, with Guy one place lower in fifth.

The frustration was compounded by the fact that a repeat of his semi-final swim would have earned him a bronze medal – but Scott was taking a measured view of the result.

“Initially I’m disappointed. Even now it’s not a disappointment though, I’ve got to keep my head held high,” said the University of Stirling swimmer.

“It’s a first individual 200m free final and international experience, it’s what I came here to do in the 200.

“Finishing fourth and not doing my best time in the final is pretty gutting but I’m just going to have to move on from that.

“It was 0.1 slower than the semi-final so I don’t feel like I bottled it.

“The semi-final might have panned out in my favour, with the lanes next to me not having their best race and me having clear water.

“But I don’t know, I’m in the exact same shape I was yesterday so there’s no reason for that. I’m incredibly proud of that swim, I don’t feel I did anything wrong, others just stepped up and performed when they needed to.”

Scott is a recognisable name on the international circuit, and was part of victorious Great Britain relay squads at the 2015 Championships in Kazan and the 2016 European Games, while he also helped Team GB to double silver at the 2016 Olympic Games.

And although hopes were high for an individual medal this week, Scott knows there is still plenty to compete for this week, with the relays in which he won Olympic silver in Rio still to come.

He added: “We’ve got Jimmy Guy in there and two other boys to bring in (in the 4x200m freestyle) so that gives us a lot of confidence.”

You can help the next generation of young British swimmers by getting involved in SportsAid Week this September with five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds OBE.

Find out more about how you can support the week of fun and fundraising by visiting