Teenager Katie Shanahan was overwhelmed with emotion after claiming a shock bronze medal in the women’s 400m IM, followed by another for Toni Shaw in the women’s 100m freestyle S9.
The biggest roar of all came from Ross Murdoch, on the brink of retirement at the start of the year, but back in full force in the event he made a name for himself eight years ago in Glasgow, the 200m breaststroke men.
Just a few weeks ago, he was portrayed as something of a Crimean War fighter with his overgrown beard and hairy chest.
It was the stripped boy from the Vale on display at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, and that boyish exuberance was evident in the beaming smile as he snatched bronze from behind world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook and his close friend and English rival James Wilby.
He said: “I swam a few weeks ago, (former Commonwealth champion) Andy Jameson described me as a yeti, I had a huge beard, chest full of hair.
“Chris Martin, a Malaysian coach who was coaching in Stirling, said I looked like one of those Crimean War soldiers.
“Tonight I probably look exactly like I did eight years ago – just a little Vale boy.
“I thought if I just put my head down and really control this race and do it my way, I wouldn’t be far. I thought I’d be between third and fifth, third best case scenario and the fifth worst is what went best.
“In the end my coaches convinced me, they believed me and said they thought I could do it. Hats off to them for taking me back so openly in February and challenging me every days.
At 28, Murdoch has well and truly achieved veteran status in the world of swimming and will stop there at the end of these Games.
Shanahan is on the other end of the spectrum, still 18 and making her first appearance on this stage.
It was the first time in two decades that Hannah Miley had not competed at the Commonwealth Games, and it was fitting that the two-time 400m medley champion was in the stands commentating as Shanahan produced a searing 4:39.37 to win an unlikely bronze medal. from hallway one.
Miley’s successor was overcome with emotion and surprise, bursting into tears after the race.
She said: “After the race, I was emotional, I couldn’t believe it.
“Following in (Hannah’s) footsteps and following her accomplishments and legacy at the Commonwealth Games is special. I know she’s up there commentating, that was special.
And there was more to come with Shaw overcoming his frustrating habit of taking fourth place to make it a hat-trick of bronzes.
She said: “I’m absolutely buzzing, I don’t really have words. I knew it was going to be really, really close. I’m glad to be on the right side of the finish this time.
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