CAITLIN McCLATCHEY knows what it is to be a Commonwealth Games superstar.
At Melbourne 2006 she won gold for Scotland in the 200m and 400m freestyle and became a national heroine.
Now, just a few months short of her 29th birthday, the three-time Olympian is hungry for more. McCatchey, a graduate from Loughborough University, moved to Edinburgh two years ago and is combining her swimming with studies for a Masters degree in Performance Psychology.
Coached by Chris Jones at the Edinburgh University Club, she was troubled by a back injury during the Scottish team trials in April but her steely determination saw her make it into the squad. Now she’s ready again to prove that she is someone for the big stage.
“Getting into the team was the first goal – now I want to swim my best,” said the swimmer whose Uncle, Alan McClatchey, won a bronze medal for Britain at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. “It’s going to be great competing at such a high level in front of a home crowd. I experienced it at the London Olympics and it was brilliant.”
The swimming events take place at the Tollcross International Centre in Glasgow and the other Edinburgh University swimmers in the team are Richard Schafers, Calum Tait, Kieran McGuckin, Jack Thorpe, Craig Rodgie, Corrie Scott, Kathryn Johnstone and Andrea Strachan.
Warrender has the three Craigs – Benson, Hamilton and McNally – plus Dan Wallace and Lewis Smith, who won a silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Games in Delhi four years ago.
McNally will be one of the Team Scotland medal contenders in the backstroke, while Benson, who has had a tough time since qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics as a 17-year-old, could make his mark in the 100m breaststroke.
Benson suffered a real downer last summer when he failed to make Team GB for the World Championships. But Scotland is awash with world-class men’s breaststroke specialists and he showed his gritty determination by making the team on his final chance at the British Championships in April. Having cleared that hurdle, he has the talent and the will to win that could push him to a medal.
Wallace has been based in Florida for the past few years and made his breakthrough last year when he swam in the World Championships in Barcelona. On his Team GB debut he broke the Scottish record in the 400m individual medley with a time of 4:10.35.
The 21-year-old from North Berwick has qualified for his first Games in the 400m freestyle and the medleys.
“The Games are going to be exciting for me and exciting for Scotland,” said Wallace, who doesn’t just want to be a part of Scotland’s sporting highlight of the year.”
The poster boy of Glasgow 2014 is the home city swimmer Michael Jamieson, the 200m breaststroke star who has strong Edinburgh connections.
His first club was the City of Glasgow based at the Tollcross Pool but he then moved to join the City of Edinburgh scheme based at the Royal Commonwealth Pool and he stayed there until it folded after the 2008 Olympic Games.
Now based in Bath, the London 2012 silver medallist competes for Edinburgh University whenever he is in Scotland.
“It’s going to be amazing competing in a Commonwealth Games in the same pool where it all started for me,” he said.
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I can’t wait. But it’s not going to be easy. Scotland and England have world-class breaststrokers.”