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Duncan Scott will set his ambitions higher after reflecting on his Tokyo achievements.
The 24-year-old became the first Briton to win four medals at a single Olympic Games when he claimed gold and three silvers in the pool.
The Scotsman had bagged a record six-medal haul at the Commonwealth Games three years earlier, but the enormity of his latest achievement has led to him raising the bar again.
“It has probably made my ambitions higher, and my expectations higher as well,” Scott told the PA news agency.
Team GBs most decorated athlete at a single games 🥇🥈🥈🥈
A huge thank you for all the amazing messages, the support has been unreal 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/2tzfhegAcO
— Duncan Scott (@Dunks_Scott) August 2, 2021
“That’s not to say that I didn’t expect it or think that this was out of reach. It’s just one of things, once it has happened, other things have been adjusted.”
The year’s delay meant Tokyo had loomed large in competitors’ heads for even longer than usual. But the need to limit time in Japan to what was strictly necessary amid the ongoing pandemic ensured Scott and his team-mates were thrust back into reality.
“It’s been a weird couple of weeks, more so how quickly we got back,” the Stirling-based swimmer said. “From when I raced, it was a big media day and we flew the next morning. Before I knew it I was back here probably within 36 hours of when I raced.
“That was the weirdest part of it. Getting back is usually pretty manic anyway but I got up the next day and started watching the Olympics, which was pretty strange.
Have you voted for your National Lottery Olympian of the Year yet??
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— sportscotland (@sportscotland) August 23, 2021
“You go each day by either sticking on your reflection head of thinking about what happened or if you are happy or slightly disappointed with different results, and your next day your head might be really excited for what’s to come.”
Scott was speaking in his capacity as a Learn to Swim ambassador but his and his team-mates’ recent actions have spoken louder than words.
“Off the back of how well British Swimming have done, it’s great to see swimming getting a little bit more publicity, which I think has been deserved,” he said.
“I didn’t realise quite how big the following and response back home had been until I got back, because everything was switched off. It was a good excuse not to message the parents.
“I quite like to be inside the bubble. I find it a lot easier, it’s just me and the competition. I can switch off by watching films or TV shows rather than scrolling through social media which will have everyone else’ opinions and comments on what I have done and what I want to achieve.
“It was quite special coming back and hearing everything that had been going on.”
While Adam Peaty prepares for Strictly Come Dancing after deciding to take time away from competitive swimming, Scott will get quickly back into action when he sets off for the International Swimming League meeting in Naples next week.
“I had 15 weeks last year to reflect on things when you are outside of the pool,” he said. “It takes a bit longer to reflect on this but myself and Adam are at slightly different points in our careers and he is able to do that with what he has achieved.
“I am looking forward to ISL firstly, just because I really enjoy racing for London Roar. It’s a different experience, it’s not something I get to do often. It’s different team-mates, Australians, we have quite a few Dutch swimmers, a couple of Brazilians. We have all sorts, it’s really fun, it gives a different aspect.
“And then from that, I need to decide, because next year is a really busy year for the swimming calendar. I need to see what I want to prioritise. I have not actually looked at all the dates for next year yet, I will over the next couple of weeks and months.
“Before that there is still ISL, European short course and world long course, Worlds, but getting the opportunity to race for Scotland (in the Commonwealth Games) is always special.”
:: The Learn to Swim programme aims to raise standards and achieve consistency in swimming programmes across Scotland. Learn more at https://learntoswim.scot/