Gold for Miley and Murdoch

  • Last Updated: July 24 2014, 23:02 BST

There were tears of joy and disappointment on the opening night of the Commonwealth Games swimming at Tollcross as the Saltire flew high in the form of two Scottish golds.

Hannah Miley wins the gold medal on the first night of swimming
Hannah Miley wins the gold medal on the first night of swimming

An emotional Hannah Miley kicked things off for Scotland and was later joined at the top of the podium by Ross Murdoch, on a night when the home nation and England shared eight medals.

Two of them were the most sought after ones, though, with Miley shading a thrilling battle with England's Aimee Willmott to win the 400 metres individual medley, while Murdoch beat compatriot and Glasgow hero Michael Jamieson to the punch in the men's 200 metres breaststroke.

Miley and Murdoch set Games-record times in the process and their tears were happy ones, while Willmott and Jamieson sobbed in sorrow.

At 21 Willmott will come again but it was a particularly chastening occasion for local boy Jamieson who, having twice settled for silver at the 2010 Commonwealths and 2012 Olympics, was forced into an unwanted hat-trick.

Medal success elsewhere came in the shape of England's Siobhan O'Connor who took silver in the women's 200m freestyle and in the 4x100m relay alongside Fran Halsall, Amy Smith and Becki Turner. They had no answer to the Australians, who posted a world record mark of 3:30:98, and beat Canada to second.

There were two bronze medals for England two, with James Guy and Andrew Willis getting in on the act.

The night will be remembered largely for the home golds, though, with Miley the first to have one placed around her neck after a time of 31.76 seconds. Australia's Keryn McMaster was third.

It was the perfect way for the event to start in Glasgow and Miley's reaction was a tearful one, mirrored by coach and father Patrick and a number of those in the crowd.

"I'm absolutely knackered. I don't need a swim down because I feel quite light-headed at the moment! I've got so much lactic acid building up," said an ecstatic Miley after defending the crown she won in Delhi.

"Oh my God, that was just incredible. I literally couldn't feel my legs for the last 50 so, when I touched the wall, I was hoping and praying that I could go fast."

Miley lost out to Willmott when the pair last met in January and some had fancied a repeat of that.

But Miley ultimately had confidence in her methods, even if she did ask herself some searching questions along the way.

"I've had my scalp taken a couple of times and I've had to stop and take stock, ask: 'Is it really working? Am I going in the right direction? Do I need to move?'" Miley added.

"But I totally trust the work that my Dad has done.

"It's not just a young person's sport any more, it's anybody's game - it's just if you've got the heart and soul to fight for it."

Willmott certainly had that and although silver was her best career return and her time of 4:33:01 was a personal best, she also broke down.

"I am obviously disappointed not to come away with a gold," she said.

"I was happy with my time but it is so hard when you can see yourself coming away with that medal and to be overtaken in the last leg.

"This is the closest I have come to Hannah in a major competition and I can only take the positives from that."

Her medal was followed by an English bronze in the men's 400m freestyle courtesy of world finalist Guy. He touched in a time of 3:44:58, behind Canadian winner Ryan Cochrane and the silver-taking Australian David McKeon.

"I'm over the moon with that, I never really thought I'd get a medal," said the 18-year-old.

Scotland's David Wallace ended fifth with compatriots Robbie Renwick and Stephen Milne seventh and eighth respectively.

England's O'Connor looked all set for a gold in the women's 200m freestyle having led from the off but, as she approached the penultimate turn she was caught by Australian Emma McKeon.

The former Youth Olympic champion would not be pegged back after that and took gold in a Games-record time of 1:55:57, with O'Connor taking silver and Australia's Bronte Barratt in third.

Wales' Jazz Carlin had to settle for a disappointing sixth.

O'Connor dusted herself down quickly enough to return and qualify fastest for the final of the women's 100m butterfly, with Wales Jemma Lowe (fifth) and England's Rachael Kelly (eighth) also going through.

She then won a second silver of the night in the relay as Australia scorched away with a time of 3:30:98.

England's Sophie Taylor and Scottish pair Kathryn Johnstone and Andrea Strachan booked their places in the final of the women's 50m breaststroke, while England's Ben Proud was the fastest qualifier for the men's 50m butterfly, with compatriot Adam Barrett the only other home nations athlete to go through. South African Chad le Clos was third fastest.

Liam Tancock will also be in final action on Friday after qualifying second quickest for the 100m backstroke, with fellow Englishman Chris Walker-Hebborn and Scot Craig McNally joining him.

In the men's Para-Sport 100m freestyle S9 Australia's Rowan Crothers posted a new world record time of 54:58 as he took gold at the head of a one-two-three for his country.