Michael Jamieson trained with City of Edinburgh as a teenager – now he is back in the Capital as he seeks the opportunity to get a chance of a second Olympic medal in Rio next summer.
This weekend, he hopes to end 2015 on a high at the Scottish National Short Course Championships at his regular training base of the Royal Commonwealth Pool.
The 27-year-old scaled the heights when he claimed a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, but he suffered a real body blow when he carried the favourite tag into last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow only to settle for second best behind fellow-Scot Ross Murdoch.
Looking back on that devastating July evening at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Jamieson said: “My reaction was completely over the top. I just blew it all out of proportion and ended up taking a huge break from the pool. I took too long to get over the disappointments of last year.”
But the move north in September from the University of Bath to the University of Edinburgh and a reconnection with coach Chris Jones – he was an assistance coach with City of Edinburgh – will, hopefully, reignite his career on the road to Rio.
Jamieson has entered the 50m, 100m and 200m ad will face tough opposition in both Murdoch and Craig Benson, the former Warrender man who is now with the University of Stirling.
Livingston’s Benson is another 2012 Olympian battling back from some down-time. Since making Team GB at the age of 17, he has struggled to retain his place, but he goes into this weekend with the fastest entry times in all three breaststroke events.
Murdoch has followed up his 2014 Commonwealth Games with another successful summer, the highlight having been a bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke at the World Championships in Kazan this summer.
The Championships have attracted a strong entry and the list includes Hannah Miley, who won a silver medal in the 400m individual medley at the European Short Course Championships in Israel.
Warrender’s Craig McNally will be bidding for backstroke glory at the Commonwealth Pool. He just missed out on the 2012 Olympics and then was ill during last year’s Commonwealth Games, but the 22-year-old is determined to make it to his first Olympics next summer. In the 200m, McNally is the top ranked this weekend in the 200m backstroke and is second in the 100m behind England’s Ryan Bennett, who trains with the University of Stirling.
Warrender’s Keri-anne Payne will be aiming for the 800m title on the opening day at the Championships, and is looking to continue her recent good form.
England’s Payne won the Open Water test event in Rio back in August before winning the 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2015 in Hong Kong.
Robbie Renwick, Duncan Scott and Stephen Milne are other leading Scots set to compete, with Milne having just returned from a British Swimming familiarisation camp in Rio.
Belgium’s National Team also makes a welcome return to the event with 16 athletes competing, including Olympian Kimberley Buys, who is now on the comeback trail after fracturing her wrist in a cycling accident.
“This event has grown in stature and deserves its status as the premier short course competition in the UK,” commented Forbes Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Swimming. “With the swimming calendar so busy it is great to have so many teams from across the UK as well as the National squad from Belgium coming to Edinburgh.”