Ross Murdoch

Selecting the Scots – How the Birmingham 2022 Team Will Take Shape

In 2018, spearheaded by a record haul from Duncan Scott who pocketed 6 medals on the Gold Coast, Scotland took home a creditable 9 medals from the Commonwealth Games. This year they will journey south to Birmingham looking to better that performance. Here’s how the Scottish team will take shape.


Matching the path set by GB and England, Scotland included for pre-selection in their team building process, with provisions for those competing at the 2021 Olympics to be pre-selected based on their performances. This decision was set against a host of qualitative criteria and not an objective one, but of the five Scots who journeyed to Tokyo, Duncan Scott and Kathleen Dawson were confirmed to the team, reflecting their medal winning exploits and the fact that they represent Scotland’s strongest individual medal hopes.

Kathleen Dawson will head to Birmingham as a strong medal contender in the backstroke events. Pic: Scottish Swimming

Prepare for a Trials Test

Team Scotland has given an indicative swimming team size of 16 for Birmingham so with two spots gone, 14 more are up for grabs. There is only one opportunity for swimmers to throw their hat in the ring, being the British Championships, where they need to meet the selection times set out in the policy. There’s no stated requirement for when times can be set, so any swim at the meet can be considered in theory, not just finals.

Team Scotland have set the times as shown below. As might be expected given the relative size of the swimmer pool being selected from, they are generally slower than their English equivalents, with FINA points ranging from 760 to 860 for the women’s standards and 796 to 862 for the men.

00:25.3750m Free00:22.35
00:55.16100m Free00:49.10
01:59.29200m Free01:47.80
04:11.58400m Free03:50.58
08:39.17800m Free15:22.34
00:28.4550m Back00:25.67
01:00.85100m Back00:54.50
02:11.72200m Back01:58.96
00:31.2550m Breast00:27.74
01:07.72100m Breast01:00.83
02:26.09200m Breast02:12.41
00:26.7750m Fly00:23.95
00:58.96100m Fly00:52.79
02:11.00200m Fly01:58.24
02:14.69200m I.M.02:00.43
04:45.90400m I.M.04:18.86
03:41.094 x 100m Free03:16.23
07:58.584 x 200m Free07:12.01
04:01.214 x 100m Medley03:34.97

The Scottish rankings from the last 12 months show a mixed picture against these times with 19 swims from swimmers yet to secure selection meeting those standards. That represents seven women and four men, although there are a number hovering just over the mark, so it’s a cohort that could easily swell in Sheffield.

Katie Shanahan would be expecting to make the Scottish Selection standards in Sheffield after a breakthrough year in 2021. Pic: ISL/Mine Kasapoglu

Relay times will be assessed using the four fastest relevant swims and a takeover allowance of 1.5 seconds. This will include any ranked performance by a preselected swimmer since 1st April 2021 so Scott and Dawson’s 2021 British Records in freestyle and backstroke can be thrown into the mix for relay times. There is no qualifying time for the mixed relays which will be made up from within the selected squad.

Nobody can take it too easy, however, because these are consideration and not qualifying times. The policy states that swims will be ranked by percentage inside the consideration time but then applies a liberal dose of uncertainty by confirming that this ranking is only part of the selection picture, with nominations to be made by combining that ranking with a number of other factors listed as:

  • Performance in finals at the British Championships
  • Commonwealth ranking in a specific event
  • Medal potential
  • Other events with consideration times
  • Contribution to relay performance
  • Future potential

All of which leaves things wide open for the team to be made up as the selectors see fit. It would be a surprise though if performance in the water wasn’t the primary consideration (with that hint that swims in finals will be viewed more positively) unless there is a significant excess of qualifying swimmers.


There are a couple of final discretionary elements to selection if spaces remain. Firstly there is the potential to add relay alternates to the squad where they can help manage workload, then there is scope for final discretionary nominations. These latter discretionary ones seem unlikely to be a factor unless the team size is increased, however, because to be eligible for consideration swimmers still have to make a nomination time.

The final team list submitted to Team Scotland is due to be announced on 15th May and then will be confirmed, once rubber stamped, by the end of that month.