FORMER Commonweal School student and England international swimmer Tilly Gray writes exclusively for Link Sport about today’s Scottish independence vote and its potential impact on British swimming…
WITH Scotland taking to the polls to vote on independence today, it seemed the right time to discuss what might happen to British swimming in the event of a yes vote.
At the Commonwealths everybody had such a patriotic feel about each nation and I know how proud the Scots are to be Scottish. In terms of swimming performance, the independence vote has definitely shaken up a lot of people and they are quite worried about the situation and may be forced to take a yes or a no vote depending on their performance.
I think there are a lot of worried Scottish athletes at the moment. It’s not clear what would happen in the event of a yes vote. It may be something that is neglected for a little while, though I have heard that there may be a choice if they want to swim for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
There is a lot of confusion, nothing is that clear, we’ve just got to wait for the outcome of the vote.
In terms of the other members of the British team, it will open up a lot of doors if we still receive the same amount of funding. It means we can get more people on the team, there should be more camps we should go on to. It’s quite a strange time but I don’t think the Olympics is on the priority list when people consider independence.
I think English and Welsh swimmers would like to see a yes vote. I think quite a lot of people are hoping it will go that way. It’s a selfish sport, a selfless sport and people are in it for themselves. You want to get yourself on that team, however you do it, and as long as you get yourself on that GB representation that’s all that matters.
Scottish Swimming has a really good sport development programme, they’ve got so much funding that they give to their athletes whereas in Wales you have to live in Wales to receive funding. That’s completely different in Scotland. They’ll support you wherever you are.
Michael Jamieson is doing amazingly in Bath. I don’t think Scottish Swimming would want to move him out of his training environment, where he produces the goods, just so they can fund him. They’ll have to look at it all but Scottish Swimming are very reasonable.
They don’t seem to make silly decisions and everything is thought through. They’ll be fine – they have the funding and support there and they did incredibly at the Commonwealths. If anything they might be really excited to show off to the world what they have and really stand out as a nation instead of being swamped by GB.