Olympic swimmer Dan Wallace banned from driving

Olympic swimmer Dan Wallace at Stirling Sheriff Court on drink driving charge. Picture; Mark Ferguson
Olympic swimmer Dan Wallace at Stirling Sheriff Court on drink driving charge. Picture; Mark Ferguson

Scots Olympic swimmer Dan Wallace was banned from driving and fined £600 after driving home following a lengthy drinking session with pals.

The silver medallist was still nearly two-and-a-half times the legal limit when stopped near his rented flat in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire at 3.15 am, despite having stopped boozing hours before.

Olympic swimmer Dan Wallace at Stirling Sheriff Court on drink driving charge. Picture; Mark Ferguson

Olympic swimmer Dan Wallace at Stirling Sheriff Court on drink driving charge. Picture; Mark Ferguson

Wallace, 24, was behind the wheel of his leased Mercedes A180D Amg Line Executive when he was caught just a mile or so from Stirling University, where he trains.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that the incident happened in Queens Lane, Bridge of Allan, on June 1.

Prosecutor Laura Knox said: “Police officers stopped the vehicle in question in connection with a document check, and spoke to the accused, who was driving. They could smell alcohol and he was required to provide a specimen of breath.”

After failing a roadside breath test, Wallace was arrested and taken to Livingston Police Station, where he gave a sample of breath that proved on analysis to contain 54 microgrammes of alcohol in every 100 millilitres, 2.45 times the legal limit in Scotland, which is 22.

Appearing in the dock in a smart suit and tie, Wallace, originally from Edinburgh, a first offender, pleaded guilty to drink driving.

Ewen Roy, defending, said the star had been drinking with friends at a private address in Stirling, on what was the one day a week he has off from rigorous training.

He said: “He advises me he wasn’t drinking constantly throughout the day and also that he’d had plenty of food. He then took what he thought was a reasonable length break from drinking before driving the two miles home. He thought he was fit to drive. Clearly that was a significant error. He tells me the roads were very quiet. I understand there was nothing problematic at all with the manner of his driving.”

Mr Roy said police had been alerted purely by the smell of alcohol from Wallace’s breath -- he said there was no indication of slurred speech, glazed eyes, or unsteadiness from the athlete.

He said: “He is a man who has represented his country at the highest level with some distinction.

“He is very conscious that he has let himself down, his family, his friends and his colleagues. He fully appreciates that as an athlete he is a role model, and accordingly far better conduct is expected from somebody in his position.”

He said Wallace, who earns £2,300 a month as a competitive swimmer, had been suspended from his sport for three months, as a result of which he would lose £7,000 in income, while still having to pay rent on his POUNDS 440 a month flat.

He said: “As a consequence of his action he has suffered financial loss of severak thousand pounds, and clearly there’s been reputational damage as well.

“Despite his suspension, he is still expected to train twice daily, and has been training this morning before coming to court.

“He has agreed to attend a regular programme of support designed by a psychologist at the Scottish Institute of Sport and weekly medical checks will take place.

“As a direct consequence of his decision to get behind the wheel while over the limit he is going to be suspended for the biggest meet of the year, the British Championships, a competition he has been training for since last August. It’s obviously a major blow for him.”

Imposing the fine and a 12-month driving disqualification, Sheriff Wyllie Robertson rejected Mr Roy’s request to refer Wallace to a drink-drivers’ rehabilitation scheme, which, if it had been successfully completed, could have cut 25 per cent off the length of the ban.

He said: “I don’t consider that’s suitable.”

Last week, British and Scottish Swimming found the drink-driving was violation of the athletes’ code of conduct.

Outside court, Wallace said: “I am extremely disappointed that have let people down. Now I am moving forward and looking towards the future.”

The Bridge of Allan incident was not Wallace’s first brush with the law.

Three years ago, he faced the possibility of the axe from the Commonwealth Games team after he was arrested in the US for urinating on a Gainesville Police Department vehicle. He was dragged to the ground after trying to evade arrest before being handcuffed.

The swim star then put that moment of madness down to “a poor decision in judgement”.

Wallace became known for his yell of “for freedom” when he set a British record to win the 400m individual medley for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

He won a silver medal as a member of the 4x200metres freestyle relay team at the Olympics in Rio last summer. He won gold in the same event at the 2015 World Championships.

British Swimming and Scottish Swimming said Wallace had signed a letter of intent “outlining his commitment to work with the necessary support systems provided”.

British Swimming national performance director Chris Spice and Scottish Swimming director of performance Ally Whike said: “This is clearly unacceptable behaviour from Dan and we are disappointed by his actions.

“Dan has publicly acknowledged the seriousness of his mistake and is accepting of the consequences that must follow. Together, we will now support him through this difficult period to try to get this young and talented man back on track.”