Team GB swimmer Duncan Scott says he is taking little notice of the hype surrounding him ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
The all-rounder was one of four British swimmers pre-selected for the Games, and was joined by another 24 at last week’s team announcement.
Scott claimed three British titles at the recent trials in London, his first serious long-course event since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic. He set new British records in all of those victories, and posted the fastest time in the world this year in the 200m freestyle, having already claimed 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley wins.
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But even though he is setting the standard, Scott will not be getting complacent and says the only thing that matters will be whether he can get on the podium in Japan. He is not interested in engaging with mind games with rivals either.
Duncan Scott in action at April's British trials
Image credit: Getty Images
“No one can affect my race. I’m in my own lane,” he told Eurosport.
“It’s not something I think about, I don’t look at rankings, I’m there trying to better myself regardless of where I am in the rankings.
“There’s quite a lot for me to work on between now and then, I’m quite certain about what I need to work on.
I’m pretty sure the Americans and Australians are going to throw down some fast times, I need to go there and focus on myself. If I do that and perform to my best ability, hopefully some good things can come out the other side.
Scott says it felt “strange” to be pre-selected for the Games, and still felt like he needed to prove himself at the trials. The year-long delay of the Olympics has worked well for him, and he believes the British team are in better shape, too.
“I think it’s been an extra year to mature as an athlete and a person - both are really important,” he said.
“I’ve been really fortunate since June to be able to be in the water. Since then it’s been really consistent, I just wouldn’t have known what shape I would have been in 2020.
“I would say that our relays are in better shape than last year, just because of the number of younger guys that are on them, that extra year of maturity has helped a lot with that. Even for myself, 23, being one of the older ones in the team is kind of insane.”
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Scott admits the experience of Tokyo will be different because of the Covid restrictions that will be in place, but he expects organisers to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible. He goes to Japan looking to get on the podium in his own event for the first time, having claimed two relay silvers in Rio.
“I enjoyed all of the last Games, competing in three finals and standing on the podium with team-mates but also friends, people that I’ve trained with for a number of years,” said Scott.
That was a real privilege. This year I’ve got a few more individual events, I’ve gained a lot of experience but I’m still going there with the same attitude that I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, I’m quite excited for that.
“It’ll feel different just because of how it’ll be set up to go ahead, we’re fortunate that it’s going ahead.
“I’ve experienced competitions that have happened in ISL, trials, during Covid and they have been different but on a much smaller scale.
“With it being my second Games I guess I’m a bit more experienced but I’m still going to go into it with the same attitude, I’m there to enjoy it. I’m not too sure how similar an experience it will be but everyone is in the same boat.”
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