Adam Peaty is British swimming’s big hope for the Rio Olympics, but Ross Murdoch has emerged from the shadows before to take glory and may do so again.
London 2012 silver medallist Michael Jamieson was the poster boy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but was bitterly disappointed as Murdoch beat him to 200metres breaststroke gold in Glasgow.
Jamieson did not qualify for the Olympics and may be contemplating retirement, while Murdoch also was not selected for his favoured event, finishing third behind Andrew Willis and Craig Benson at the trials.
It is still possible Murdoch, who in May added the European title to his burgeoning list of accomplishments, could race the 200m, but for now he is slated to swim the 100m breaststroke with Peaty, the world record holder, world, European and Commonwealth champion.
Peaty’s phenomenal power and fast start sets him apart – he is the only man to swim beneath 58 seconds in history – but Murdoch’s speed endurance could put him in medal contention too.
“We both swim very different races in the 100,” Murdoch said.
“He’s very much a front end guy and I’m very much on the back end of the race.
“But I believe I can go in there, put in a best time and swim my best performance in the final.
“Once you’ve got a lane in a final in a major championships anything can happen.”
University of Stirling’s Murdoch takes belief from his performance in Glasgow two summers ago.
“It’s certainly given me a lot of confidence knowing that I always swim my best races in the final,” the 22-year-old added.
“I just love it. I just love racing. I have so much fun. To race in front of a home crowd like that was so much fun.
“It gives you goosebumps, walking out to race when I’m in the best shape possible.”
Murdoch took inspiration from Jamieson’s performance at London 2012, when he took Olympic silver, one of three medals in a disappointing total for Britain’s swimmers.
The hosts won just three medals in the pool at London 2012 – Rebecca Adlington’s two bronzes the others – but it is feasible Peaty and Murdoch could medal in the same race.
And the Scot is optimistic for the team’s chances as a whole.
He added: “I’m very confident in our team to be able to deliver.
“The public focus on medals and we did only come away with three medals, but it was our most successful Games ever in terms of fourth-placed finishes and finalists. That showed we were on the brink of something very special.
“There is ready to be a jump in terms of British swimming and their stature and the world of swimming. I think we’ve driven it on in the past couple of seasons and I don’t think it’s going to stop in Rio.”