SMETHWICK, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Duncan Scott of Team Scotland celebrates winning gold in the Men's 200m Freestyle Final on day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2022 on the Smethwick, England. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Duncan Scott emerged victorious in the battle of the Brits as he claimed a measure of revenge over his Tokyo conqueror and good friend Tom Dean.
A year ago it was young pretender Dean who stunned his more experienced teammate as the pair claimed Olympic gold and silver in the 200m freestyle.
For much of that race, it looked as though Scott would come through but he was pipped to the post on the biggest stage of all.
In Birmingham though, it was the Team Scotland swimmer who claimed home nations bragging rights, and relatively comfortably with a commanding swim.
Scott quickly allayed any fears over his form, having missed the World Championships as he recovered from Covid, racing to victory in 1:45.02, nearly four tenths quicker than his rival and close friend.
He said: “An international final, the times go out of the window and it’s just about racing. It was a really good battle, hopefully we can rekindle our relationship for British swimming teams.
“We’ve been fine, chatting as normal and plenty of jokes, I had lunch with him the other day. We get on really well and it was just another race. Instead of him wearing a Bath hat and me a Stirling one, it’s different colours on.”
Scott added a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley, taking his Commonwealth medal tally to nine, while Dean added a second relay silver of the week in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
And while this time around, he missed out on gold, there was satisfaction that the duo had maintained their monopoly on the top two spots of the podium.
He said: “Obviously I wanted that gold and I knew it was going to be a tight race with Duncan but we’re one-two at a major international competition again. It’s just how we like to do things, just like the Olympics last year, so it was always going to be a good race.
“The friendship comes before the rivalry. We’re great pals in and out of the pool, it’s a healthy competition which is going to be good for the sport, good for Great Britain when we do come together and good for the Commonwealth sport showing what we’re capable of.”
Scott’s was not the only British gold of the night, Ben Proud opening Team England’s account in the pool by winning the 50m butterfly a matter of weeks after being crowned world champion in the 50m freestyle.
And having questioned his future after his Tokyo disappointment, Proud was in reflective mood.
He said: “It’s a weird one. On paper it’s just another gold medal but to me this is an eight-year legacy that I’ve just completed.”
The race of the night on Sunday will be the men’s 100m breaststroke, with Adam Peaty the red-hot favourite after proving his fitness following his broken foot.
He appears to have won his race against time, qualifying fastest from the semi-finals, and while he admitted there is still occasional pain in his foot, Peaty is ready to do what he does best and wow the crowd in the final.
He said: “My front end feels rustier than it normally would in a Championship but I realise, it’s not about the times, it’s about enjoying the crowd and giving the crowd a show.”
Elsewhere Imogen Clark won silver for England in the women’s 50m breaststroke while Brodie Williams did the same in the men’s 100m backstroke.
And in the S13 para swimming, Hannah Russell took the silver medal in the 50m freestyle, with Stephen Clegg matching her in the men’s equivalent.
Finally, England took silver medals in the men’s and women’s 4x100m freestyle relays, beaten by Australia on each occasion.
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