Warrender’s Craig Benson relieved to seal Glasgow 2014 spot

Criag Benson, below, is part of a squad of 40
Criag Benson, below, is part of a squad of 40
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Warrender swimmer Craig Benson admitted it would have been “horrible” to have missed the Commonwealth Games after leaving it till the last minute to seal his spot.

Benson has been named as one of the record 40-strong Scotland Aquatics squad that will look to become heroes in Glasgow this summer.

Warrender have five men in the squad in total – Benson is joined by Craig McNally, Dan Wallace, Craig Hamilton and Lewis Smith.

Backstroker McNally is perhaps the best medal hope of the quintet, while Florida-based Wallace, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Monday, has come on leaps and bounds in the past year and could also be in the mix for a place on the podium in the 400m individual medley.

But don’t rule out Benson. He swam for Team GB at the London Olympics but then had trouble backing it up in a disappointing 2013 season.

However, having overcome huge pressure at this week’s British Championships at Tollcross International Swimming Centre to finally make the Scottish team among a clutch of world-class breaststroke specialists, the Livingston youngster could be ready to spring a surprise or two.

Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson – who represents Edinburgh University while competing in Scotland –will be favourite for the 200m gold in Glasgow and the University of Stirling’s Ross Murdoch will be a strong contender in all three breaststroke events.

Benson will be concentrating on the 100m and he admitted: “Scotland has so many good breaststroke men that the trials were tough.

“I was so desperate to make it that I put myself under huge pressure. It would have been horrible not to have made the Games.

“But now that I am in the team I can work hard on getting ready for the summer.”

Another man celebrating selection in the breaststroke is East Lothian’s Mark Tully, the Tranent swimmer qualifying for the 50m distance.

Edinburgh University’s Caitlin McClatchey, a double champion from 2006, is the veteran of the women’s line-up.

For 28-year-old McClatchey, the 200m and 400m freestyle champion in Melbourne, it is a second chance to sample the home crowd atmosphere.

“It was great at the London Olympics and I am sure it will be the same in Glasgow,” said the Masters Psychology student.

“I have had a back injury and so didn’t do as well as I had hoped at the trials but now that I am in the team I can work towards the summer.

“I know I can go a lot, lot faster come Glasgow in July. I am sure it is going to be a wonderful Games for all the home countries and Tollcross is an amazing venue.”

Another seven of coach Chris Jones’ Edinburgh University squad are in the line-up: Corrie Scott, Kathryn Johnstone, Andrea Strachan, Richard Schafers, Calum Tait, Jack Thorpe and Kieran McGuckin. Whitburn’s Megan Gilchrist, now based in Swansea, is also affiliated to the University.

For those that just missed out, there will be one more chance to make the Games team at the North District Grand Prix at the new pool in Aberdeen from May 31 to June 2.

The Scotland diving team comprises of teenagers Grace Reid and James Heatly, the Edinburgh duo looking to thrill the crowds when action gets under way at the Capital’s Royal Commonwealth Pool.


Men: Ryan Bennett (4x100m medley), Craig Benson (100m breaststroke), Cameron Brodie (200m butterfly), Martin Cremin (1500m freestyle), Craig Hamilton (1500m freestyle), Michael Jamieson (100m & 200m breaststroke), Rory Lamont (50m backstroke), Gareth Mills (4x200m freestyle), Andrew McGovern (50m backstroke), Kieran McGuckin (4x100m freestyle), Craig McNally (200m backstroke, 4x100m Medley), Stephen Milne (400m &1500m freestyle), Ross Muir (400m individual medley), Ross Murdoch (50m, 100m & 200m breaststroke, 4x100m Medley), Robbie Renwick (200m & 400m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle, 4x100m medley), Richard Schafers (50m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle), Jak Scott (4x200m freestyle), Lewis Smith (200m butterfly, 400m IM), Calum Tait (200m breaststroke), Jack Thorpe (4x100m freestyle), Mark Tully (50m breaststroke), Daniel Wallace (400m freestyle, 200m & 400m IM, 4x200m freestyle), Joseph Welstead (50m breaststroke).

Women: Katie Armitage (100m breaststroke), Kathleen Dawson (50m backstroke, 4x100m Medley), Fiona Donnelly (4x100m medley), Megan Gilchrist (4x200m freestyle), Sian Harkin (50m freestyle, 50m Butterfly, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), Camilla Hattersley (800m freestyle), Lucy Hope (4x200m freestyle), Kathryn Johnstone (50m & 100m breaststroke, 4x100m medley), Rachel-Louise Masson (4x100m freestyle), Caitlin McClatchey (200m freestyle, 4x100m Freestyle, 4x200m freestyle), Hannah Miley (800m freestyle, 200m breaststroke, 200m & 400m IM), Rachel O’Donnell (4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle), Corrie Scott (50m &100m breaststroke), Andrea Strachan (50m breaststroke), Aisha Thornton (800m freestyle).


Men: James Heatly (3m springboard)

Women: Grace Reid (1m springboard)