Watching on from the crowd as his idols enjoyed success at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scott McLay just couldn’t wait to get his own turn to wow the Scottish crowds.
Fast forward five years and that dream is on the brink of coming true, with the Perth-born swimmer set to make his senior Glasgow debut at the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships for Great Britain next month.
He may only be 20 but McLay is not short of ambition, the youngster openly admitting his frustrations at missing out on last year’s European Championships in Glasgow after making his first senior international appearances at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Frustrating as it was, it’s the fear of missing out that has always spurred McLay on, the Scot revealing he can’t wait to finally show off what he can do at next month’s competition in Glasgow.
“That’s pretty much where I would say my journey began,” said the Perth-born swimmer.
“I watched my teammate Stephen Milne compete and I decided that was a path I really wanted to go down – I wanted to be representing my country at a Commonwealth Games.
“I wanted to be at the same level he was. I’ve worked hard to come up through the rankings from junior to senior and I was happy to make the team for the Gold Coast.
“Ever since then, I’ve been determined to get onto more teams and enjoy the same level of success I saw him achieve.”
The 20-year-old will be joined by University of Stirling teammates Duncan Scott and Ross Murdoch at the Championships, taking place from 4-8 December in Glasgow.
There are high expectations for the Scots to medal with the likes of Scott and Murdoch in the team’s ranks, the former having anchored the GB men’s team to gold at the World Championships in South Korea earlier this year, but for McLay, the competition will be all about measuring his own individual success.
“We’re all there to do the same thing which is to be the best version we can be of ourselves in the sport,” he added.
“The talent we have in Stirling is incredible. In Ross Murdoch, Duncan Scott and Craig Benson – There’s a good collection of us.
“The main aim for me is to get season bests and PBs. I’ve been putting in all the hard work in the lead up to the Championships and hopefully that means the success will come.
“If I come away with a PB, I’m going to be really happy, a medal would be a bonus.”