It’s more fantastic news for swimming in Perth as two of our local athletes have been selected to represent Scotland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Stephen Milne and Scott McLay will be heading Down Under to represent their country in the pool and they’ll be joined by Perth City Swim Club’s Ann Dickson – who’s been selected as a member of the Aquatics Coaching Team.
This will be the second time that Stephen Milne has been selected to represent Scotland at the Games, after the 23-year-old picked up a silver medal in Glasgow back in 2014. He was part of the 4X200m freestyle team which finished runners-up and he was also a finalist in the men’s individual 1500m and 400m freestyle events.
Milne is delighted to be selected once again but he’s well aware about the challenge they face when it comes to getting on the podium when he takes to the pool over 10,000 miles away. Glasgow was a great Games for Scotland and we’ll all be hoping to go out there and step up next April.
“Swimming is one of the sports where the Australians are strong and they will be on their own ground. England and Wales obviously have many great athletes too, and there are plenty of other nations who’ll also be chasing honours.
“Glasgow was a great Games for Scotland and we’ll all be hoping to go out there and step up next April.”
Unlike his fellow Team Scotland swimmer, Scott McLay will go into next year’s competition as a rookie without any previous experience at Commonwealth senior level. He did however, become Scotland’s most decorated Youth Games athlete in its history after he won 3 golds, a silver and a bronze in the Bahamas back in July.
McLay was also recently honoured in the Scottish Swimming Awards in Aberdeen and picked up the WG Todd Prize and Cup which is awarded to outstanding male and female junior athletes. In his acceptance speech he recognised Perth City Swim Club's Ann Dickson and also Strathallan's Elaine Johnston - who both played a huge part in his recent success. The fact that he’s made the squad for the Games means that Scott’s already accomplished what he set out to do at the beginning of last season.
“I’m extremely excited for the next few months. I set myself the hard task of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games at the start of last season. The fact I’ve achieved my goal and I’m going to the Games means so much to me.”
Scott's now moved on from Perth City Swim Club to the University of Stirling - where he'll continue to balance his swimming with his studies in Sport and Exercise Science.
It’s not only the athletes that are being recognised though. Perth City Swim Club’s head coach, Ann Dickson, will also be heading to the Gold Coast as part of the Team Scotland Aquatics Coaching Team.
Ann has been coaching both Stephen and Scott for many years and last weekend at the Scottish Swimming Awards, McLay paid tribute to his former coach and her role in improving him as a swimmer since he joined the club as a seven-year-old boy.
She’s been delighted that the club’s performance targets have been met, as the aims were for both Stephen and Scott to make the Scottish team but she’s also extremely happy about her own chance to represent the country in a coaching capacity.
“We’ve had excellent results across our age groups in the club. Age group development is a process that takes time and patience, and we have some very good younger swimmers coming through. I’m delighted that I’ve been selected as one of the Team Scotland coaches – representing Scotland is a very exciting opportunity.
“At the senior end, the potential for Stephen and Scott to both make the Commonwealth Games was there, it was just about getting it right for them at the crucial points of the season.
“I’m delighted that I’ve been selected as one of the Team Scotland coaches – representing Scotland is a very exciting opportunity for our athletes and coaches alike. We’ll be targeting the best performances for each and every one of them when we get to Australia.”
The first get together for the team will be at the Scottish National Short Course Championships in early December, before they head to Australia for a warm weather camp in between Christmas and New Year.
The Commonwealth Games open on April 4th 2018 on Australia’s Gold Coast, with the swimming events scheduled from 5th – 10th April in the Aquatic Centre.
It’s fantastic that three representatives from our city will be involved in the swimming at the 2018 Games and it’s a testament to the work of everybody at Perth City Swim Club. We’re looking forward to cheering Stephen and Scott on and hopefully they can inspire other talented local swimmers to go on to represent Team Scotland and Team GB in future competitions!
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