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Swimming: Commonwealth Games-bound Ross Murdoch and Craig Benson split Scottish 50m breaststroke title in Aberdeen

Ross Murdoch was one of the Team Scotland athletes in action in Aberdeen.
Ross Murdoch was one of the Team Scotland athletes in action in Aberdeen.

Team Scotland breaststroke specialists Ross Murdoch and Craig Benson geared up for the Commonwealth Games by being named men’s joint-Scottish 50m champions in Aberdeen.

The Scottish National Open Championships were held at Aberdeen Aquatics Centre from Friday to Sunday, with Glasgow 2014 100m breaststroke gold medallist Murdoch and Benson both touching the wall in 27.87.

Murdoch had already won both the 100m and 200m at the north-east venue.

Also on Sunday, Kara Hanlon wrapped up what was a strong meet for her with a third title of the weekend.

Another Birmingham 2022-bound pool star, Hanlon added the 50m to her women’s 200m and 100m titles from earlier in the meet.

She said: “It’s just really nice to come here and put things together and put in three strong performances before tapering off into the Commies.”

All of the Commonwealth-selected swimmers in Aberdeen competed under the Team Scotland banner, with Hanlon adding: “It’s so much fun that we’ve all come here as Team Scotland – it’s given a bit of an idea of what the vibe will be at the games which is nice, especially with those from different clubs.”

Kara Hanlon of Team Scotland competing in Aberdeen.

Although he isn’t heading to Birmingham, para-swimmer Louis Lawlor broke the one-minute barrier on Sunday in his 100m butterfly category, finishing in the final in 59.71, in a meet where he set multiple new records – Scottish and British – across multiple events, while Rio 2016 Olympian Stephen Milne was also in action in Aberdeen.

Milne added the 400m freestyle title to his 200m free title from Saturday as part of his Commonwealths preparations.

Meanwhile, teen University of Aberdeen Performance Team swimmer Tegan Davidson broke the Scottish record in 50m free for her classification, swimming 40.98.

On Saturday, Team Scotland’s Craig McNally came from eighth place at 50m to win the men’s 100m backstroke in 55.52, beating two of his Birmingham team-mates in Martyn Walton (second) and Scott Gibson (fifth), and said: “Me and Martyn use each other all the time for racing, and we just race it so differently.

“I can’t imagine it’s nice for him because he doesn’t get a race until the end. But we’re both used to it and he’s great to race.”

Another Commies-pick Lucy Hope claimed both the 100m and 200m freestyle titles. Katie Shanahan, who went on to win the 200m backstroke prize on Sunday, was third in the 200 free to boost her Games build-up

Scottish swimming superstar Duncan Scott was also in action in Aberdeen ahead of Birmingham, winning the 400m individual medley 4:17.05, while foregoing the chance to take part in the 200m freestyle, having also won the 100 free and 200 fly on Friday.

On the first day of the meet, Aberdeen’s Yvonne Brown won bronze in the women’s 200m fly behind Commies-selected Keanna MacInnes and second-place Alys Thomas.

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