Calum Tait makes shock waves with success

Calum Tait has taken a break from his studies to chase his Games dream. Picture: SNS
Calum Tait has taken a break from his studies to chase his Games dream. Picture: SNS
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While Scot Michael Jamieson was in record-breaking form in claiming a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke at the European Championships in Denmark, Edinburgh University’s Calum Tait was a shock winner of the same event at the Scottish Gas Scottish Short Course Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

Facing two bigger names in 2012 Olympian Craig Benson and Stirling’s World Championship swimmer Ross Murdoch, Tait snatched the title in 2:07.88.

Most surprised was the 19-year-old himself. “That was huge shock,” admitted Tait as he smiled from ear to ear. He could hardly believe that he had relegated Murdoch to second place in 2:08.62, with Benson third in 2:09.63.

“I hoped to get a personal best, but not by over three seconds. It’s a great confidence booster for the Games,” added the youngster, who started his career at Milngavie and Bearsden.

Tait’s coaches, Chris Jones and assistant Mark Jaggs, also admitted it was better than they expected from their man. “Calum has been working hard at his skills, but I didn’t really expect such a good time,” said Jones. “He’s a great racer and proved it again today.

In his second year of a medical degree at Edinburgh, Tait has decided to take a break from his studies to chase his Commonwealth Games dream.

He is trying to follow in the strokes of another Edinburgh 200m breatstroker, Ian Edmond. He started his medical degree and took a break and won a silver medal at the 2003 World Championships and competed in the 2004 
Olympics. He then retired and qualified as a doctor.

Tait is desperate to try and start his international career by standing on the blocks for Scotland at Glasgow 2014 in just over seven months’ time.

“The Commonwealth Games are the big goal,” he said. “I know it is going to be very tough, but this is a huge confidence boost. There are only three places, but I want to try and get one of them.”

In Denmark, Jamieson confirmed that he is not only one of the best in Scotland and Europe, but his time of 2:01.43 was a new Commonwealth record.

In the freestyle, City of Glasgow’s Robbie Renwick completed a double by adding the 200m title to Friday’s win in the 40m. The time was 1:45.78.

Edinburgh University’s Kathryn Johnstone collected a rare title hat-trick. She completed the breaststroke trio with a time of 2:26.09 in the 200m event. She was followed home by training mates Olivia White (2:26.25) and Emily Jones (2:26.75) in what was a great day for the Uni’s breaststroke contingent.

“It was great to win all three, but the best was my 50m Scottish record of 30.76,” said the 22-year-old, who is hoping to make her second Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Jones, from Inverurie, also claimed a bronze medal in 4:45.10 in the 400m individual medley. Elena Sheridan (Loughborough University) was a clear winner in 4:40.09.