Kathryn Johnstone sets new 100m breaststroke record

Craig McNally came close
Craig McNally came close
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Edinburgh University’s Kathryn Johnstone was in record-breaking form on the opening evening of finals at the Scottish National Short Course Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

The 25-year-old double Commonwealth Games swimmer snatched the 100m breaststroke title in 1:06.22, just finishing ahead of a new team-mate, Kara Hanlon (1:08.35).

“I’ve had a very good season and it’s a good feeling to get the Scottish record,” said Johnstone, who already has an eye on the Olympic trials at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow in April. “Short course is completely different from the long course at the trials but a win always gives you confidence.”

Warrender’s Craig McNally lost out by fractions of a second at the 2012 Olympic trials – but the near miss in London has inspired the Edinburgh 22-year-old and he opened the Championships with a win in the 200m backstroke.

He clocked 1:54.34 in a close race and is now looking forward to a winter getaway and a lot of hard work in the run up to the all important April date and the hope of a place in Team GB for Rio next summer.

“I’m going to Australia for a month on January 1,” he said. “We went last year and it is great to get away and train in the sun. After coming so close in 2012, I want to show everyone what I’m about and come back strong.”

Perth’s Stephen Milne, better known as a 1500m specialist, claimed a Scottish record in the 400m freestyle in 3:40.19, finishing just over a second ahead of the talented 18-year-old, Duncan Scott.

Milne, who made his World Championship debut this year, has already been earmarked by British swimming as an Olympic candidate. He spent time this month in Rio on a special training camp.

“I was the only Scot included in the small group of eight British swimmers,” he said. “I was very thankful to get the opportunity to go out to Rio. We got to see some of the Olympic facilities and it was really inspirational.”

Ross Murdoch, the Commonwealth Games 20m breaststroke champion, was another Scottish record breaker with a new time of 26.69 secs in the 50m breaststroke.