Lewis Smith gets better with age - and is spurred on by Rio

Lewis Smith
Lewis Smith
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Lewis Smith has reached the age when most swimmers are contemplating retirement. But he still has a major goal – to make it to next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.

The former Warrender man, now training with the University of Stirling, confirmed he is still on an upward rise with a stunning victory in the 400m individual medley on the final evening of the Scottish National Short Course Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

Coming from behind, Smith clocked 4:07.64 and touched ahead of talented teenager Duncan Scott and butterfly specialist Cameron Brodie, both team mates at Stirling.

“I’m one of the older guys now, but the younger ones keep pushing me,” he said. “I’m going to Australia in January with Scottish Swimming and making my first Olympics is the goal for 2016. I’ve been in touching distance before and I’ll be going for both the 400m medley and the 200m butterfly at the trials in April.”

Edinburgh University’s Kathryn Johnstone, who has always been a sprint specialist, also stepped up to the mark by completing an impressive hat-trick in the breaststroke events. She completed the set with a 2:25.17 swim in the 200m.

Ross Murdoch, the Commonwealth Games Champion, did the same treble in the men’s events. He had set Scottish records in the 50m and 100m and then settled for victory in 2:04.84 in the 200m.

Michael Jamieson, the Olympic silver medallist in the 200m breaststroke from London 2012, had finished second to Murdoch in the 100m on Saturday, but the 27-year-old, who recently moved to Edinburgh University, pulled out of the longer event.

The Scottish men’s and women’s records in the 200m freestyle were both obliterated on the last night of the Championships. Veteran Robbie Renwick won a close race in 1:43.58 and Camilla Hattersley added the 200m to her wins in the 400m and 800m with a fantastic 1:56.52.

Renwick, a relay gold medallist for Team GB in the 4x200m freestyle at this summer’s World Championships in Kazan, is excited about 2016.

“The Olympic trials (at Tollcross in Glasgow) are not far away and the fact that we could go to Rio as medal contenders is really exciting,” said the University of Stirling swimmer. “I’m still loving the sport and so looking forward to next year.”