David Wilkie urges Scots swimmers to focus on winning individual medals

Scottish swimmers Duncan Scott (left) and Stephen Milne (right) with their relay medals
Duncan Scott (left) and Stephen Milne (right) won gold in the 4x200m relay at the World Championships

Former Olympic champion David Wilkie says Scotland's elite swimmers need to focus on winning individual medals.

Duncan Scott won gold in the 4x200m relay, with compatriot Stephen Milne, and silver in the 4x100m medley relay, alongside fellow Scot Ross Murdoch, at the World Championships in Budapest.

Wilkie believes they need to win more than team events though.

"You've got to produce and perform at the highest level individually to get the recognition in sport," Wilkie said.

"When you swim in a relay, it's a lot easier. You've got three other guys taking the pressure off you, so the performances tend to be a lot better in the relay because you don't feel that pressure.

"It requires just a little bit harder work. I know they're all probably working their socks off right now, but they've got the Olympic Games in three years in Tokyo.

"They know what it takes, they've just swum with the best in the world and they should be looking at the times that the best in the world are doing and gearing their training programme to that."

Wilkie believes Scottish swimming "can go from strength to strength" and that "the investment over the years has paid off".

David Wilkie
David Wilkie won 200m breaststroke gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics

There were six Scots in the Great Britain team at the World Championships and Wilkie believes that can be a platform for success at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year and then the Tokyo Olympics.

"Talent is the most important thing," Wilkie said: "Hard work is just not enough on its own.

"Anybody who can swim in a relay and win a silver medal and can make the final of an event at the world championship is certainly going to [have] some talent there. It might just need fine-tuning.

"Mental toughness helps a lot too. So mental toughness, talent, hard work, good coaching - if you can get that combination right, there's no reason to say why those guys shouldn't [win a] medal in three years' time.

"We always do well at the Commonwealths. We had a great 2014 in Glasgow. It's measured in medals.

"We're in a good position. We had six Scottish swimmers in the team at the world championships and we should have at least six going to the European championships, maybe even more.

"So, in terms of how we've done in medals, it looks pretty rosy, but we didn't get an individual medal.

"I was really expecting Ross Murdoch to get an individual medal in the 200m. He was beaten by a good Russian and two good Japanese swimmers, but in terms of the Europeans, Ross must be looking to get a medal there and the relay boys will probably do really well in that."

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