Great Scot - Ian Black – LEN


A strong British team will contest the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow, featuring four recently-crowned world champions. Here’s our one-stop-shop for getting to know your home heroes that will descend on Tollcross and compete for medals with Europe’s best. Freya Anderson: a Scouse sensation whose inexorable rise shows no signs of slowing. IG – […]
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EuroSwim 2019 in numbers

What a week it was at EuroSwim in Glasgow, with Tollcross crowds given endless thrills, British success and a host of great memories to cherish.  Russia topped the medal table and Great Britain took home their best haul of medals since 2003, continuing the team’s storied relationship with the Glasgow pool. And British teenage sensation Freya Anderson […]
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Kolesnikov reels off double gold as Russia rule on final night at EuroSwim

Kliment Kolesnikov underlined his status as one of swimming’s brightest young stars with two golds inside an hour as Russia dominated the final night of the LEN European Short Course Championships. The 19-year-old broke the 200m long-course backstroke world record in Glasgow last year but didn’t get a fairytale return, crashing out in the 200m […]
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Three things from Tollcross: Hopkin sets up tilt at top step as EuroSwim builds to climax

Europe’s elite scrabbled for lanes in Sunday morning’s heats ahead of a grandstand final night, promising ten back-to-back finals and non-stop drama. With Freya Anderson going for gold once again and Duncan Scott set to race in three finals, it’s set to be a memorable evening with limited tickets still available for the session. Here […]
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Anderson stuns to claim second gold on a magical night at EuroSwim

Freya Anderson did it again. Great Britain’s teenage sensation sent a loud Tollcross crowd wild for a second night running, soaring to 200m freestyle success and thumping her own national record. Then back to anchor her nation to silver in the mixed 4x50m freestyle, taking the medal tally to nine, Anderson is emerging as the […]
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Three Things from Tollcross: Champions back in the pool on sprint Saturday

Day Three heroes rode the wave of their success on Saturday morning as a bumper weekend at EuroSwim gathers pace. Gold medallists from Friday night Freya Anderson, Vladimir Morozov and Katinka Hosszu all dived back into competition and underlined their multiple medal credentials. Here are three things you might have missed from the morning session. […]
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Anderson outshines big names to claim gold on thrilling Friday at EuroSwim

A star is born in Great Britain’s Freya Anderson, who held off a world-class field to win 100m freestyle gold at the LEN European Short Course Championships. Anderson, 18, sealed a maiden international title with aplomb in front of a boisterous home crowd at Tollcross, a superb final two lengths underpinning a personal best 51.49. […]
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Three things from Tollcross: Britain set up frantic Friday night at EuroSwim

Friday at EuroSwim is already coming to the boil after morning heats bubbled away and teed up more medal chances for Britain in the Tollcross pool. After sealing medals on Thursday night, Duncan Scott, Vladimir Morozov and Kira Toussaint returned to the water and showed their class once again. Here are three quick takeaways from […]
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Litchfield bags Britain gold as world record falls at EuroSwim

It’s all on track to Tokyo for Max Litchfield after dominant 400m individual medley gold at the LEN European Short Course Championships. The Yorkshireman, who arrived in Glasgow with an entry time four seconds quicker than any other, delivered Britain’s first EuroSwim gold medal to the delight of a bumper Tollcross crowd. Litchfield’s family, also […]
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Huge volunteer effort forms backbone of smooth running of EuroSwim

More than 225 volunteers have teamed up with Glasgow Life to deliver the LEN European Short Course Championships at Tollcross International Swimming Centre this week, with applicants from as far away as Hungary and the United Arab Emirates. From directing spectators to their seats, providing information and support to the swimmers and the media, organizing […]
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Three things from Tollcross: Scott’s away on Day Two at EuroSwim

A pulsating first night gave way to a fascinating second morning with the LEN European Short Course Championships well underway. It was Italy atop the medal table after Day One, but eight further champions will be crowned at Tollcross tonight and Britain will be well in the hunt. Here are three things we learned from […]
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Great Scot – Ian Black

Still the youngest winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, Ian Black is one of Scotland’s finest ever swimmers.

In 1958, the 17-year-old from Inverness won three gold medals at the European Championships in Hungary, followed by a gold and two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games.

This made him the first-ever Scottish winner of the famous award. He is also one of just five Scotsman to win the award, alongside Sir Andy Murray, Sir Chris Hoy, Liz McColgan and Sir Jackie Stewart.

Now 78, Black felt he was a rank outsider for the Sports Personality, with Bobby Charlton, John Charles, Stirling Moss and Nat Lofthouse all up for the award.

He said: “Kenneth Wolstenhome (legendary commentator) was suggesting, I think, that people should register their vote for Nat Lofthouse and then the people of Scotland rose up in fury. To be held in the affections of the people of Scotland was always the most important thing.”

61 years later, Black recounted how much sport has changed.

“My ceremony wasn’t particularly glitzy,” he said. “It was very simple indeed. I had no idea how much fame this catapulted me to.

“Basically, I was just a young laddie from the Highlands. There was no such thing as celebrity status back then. When I got back to Aberdeen on the train, there was nobody there, just a cleaning lady. She said, ‘well done Ian’ and then it was back to school.”

Black’s swimming career was short-lived. In 1959, he broke Vladimir Strushanov’s world record in the 400metre individual medley by four seconds.

He then went to the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He was controversially denied being Britain’s first Olympic medallist in swimming since 1908 in the 400-metre freestyle.

Black touched the finish in an identical time to Australia’s John Konrads. This was before the technology of a photo-finish was introduced, and the decision was made by seven judges.

Three judges gave the verdict in the favour of Black, three in favour of Konrads and one decided a dead-heat. Konrads was awarded the bronze.

However, by the time he was 21, he had given up swimming altogether and announced his retirement in 1962.

He cited his lack of passion as the reason to quit the sport, saying, “The burning flame of ambition has dimmed and is practically non-existent.”

In 2002, Black was inducted in the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame. However, his early retirement meant that Scotland were deprived from witnessing one of their greatest sportsmen in their prime.