Duncan Scott: ‘Adam Peaty is an inspiration to the whole GB team’ at Tokyo Olympics

·3 min read
Duncan Scott: ‘Adam Peaty is an inspiration to the whole GB team’ at Tokyo Olympics

British swimmers have grown accustomed to playing second fiddle to Adam Peaty, and no small wonder.

Peaty got the British swimming team off to a golden start on Monday and yet the British team goes well beyond the Peaty show.

Duncan Scott has come through the ranks with him and rather be either overshadowed or overwhelmed by his close friend, instead he has been inspired.

“The character he is and the way he goes about his business is almost inspirational in how he does things, dominates races, the way he’s changed breaststroke,” he said.

“He has 16 golds in 16 swims at the Europeans. That’s just ridiculous and to just be a small part of that journey is quite special. What he’s able to do is insane.

“He brings so much to the team with that relentless passion to get better every year. There’s so many doubting him to continue to improve. I love to watch what he’s able to do in the pool.”

Scott cannot underestimate the potential of the Peaty effect on him and his team-mates with the British swimming group boasting the potential to bring a wave of medals in Tokyo, with many more than just Peaty having the chance to become household names.

Scott’s best chance comes later on Tuesday in the 200m freestyle final, for which he was the fastest qualifer.

Close confidants, the pair pick each other’s brains around all manner of issues, including, Scott jokes, “being a father in about 10 years!” - a nod to Peaty’s own relatively recent step into fatherhood.

But both cannot be accused of being shrinking violets, Peaty having publicly criticised swimming’s governing body for its running of the sport as well as the dopers violating the pool.

Scott too has caused a stir, most notably when refusing to shake hands with or share the podium with Sun Yang, when the controversial Chinese swimmer took World Championship gold to Scott’s bronze back in 2019. The contretemps ended with Sun shouting “you loser, I win” in his face.


With his focus on Tokyo, what’s notable is that Scott would rather not be drawn on doping issues.

Of doping, he said: “Since Covid first came to Britain in March 2020, it’s been even more so than usual about cutting more things out that are out of my control. That’s so much out of my control so why spend any time thinking about it? That falls under that category.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decreed that all podium protests are banned, although it seems impossible that such a decision can be policed.

On that issue, Scott said: “If I’m thinking about protesting, then I’ve already gone too far. First, I have to think how I’m going to get on the podium. I’m not on there yet, I need to swim well enough to get into that position. Individually, my best at the Games is fifth so there’s still plenty to do.”

As a three-time world champion, seven-time European gold medallist and two-time Olympic relay silver medallist, Scott is well placed for a potential flurry of medals and having recently broken a series of British records at the nationals, his form is clearly good.

Scott could well have the busiest programme of any British swimmer in Tokyo with the aforementioned 200m freestyle, the 200m individual medley, and the 400m freestyle as well as a potential trio of relay races.

Somewhat understatedly, he says: “It can get quite busy so I will need to decide what the plan is in that. I don’t want to make myself too knackered when there’s good medal opportunities in the relay events.”

An individual gold – the only thing missing from his locker – would be the ultimate but, unlike Peaty, he is not making such brash predictions.

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