Duel in the Pool thriller gives swim stars hope for future

GLASGOW swimmer Robbie Renwick hopes the most dramatic Duel in the Pool to date has provided a taster of what is to come at Glasgow 2014.

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Team USA pipped European Allstars by a single point after a tie-break at Tollcross International Swimming Centre           Picture: Stewart Attwood
Team USA pipped European Allstars by a single point after a tie-break at Tollcross International Swimming Centre Picture: Stewart Attwood

The two-day event held at the city's Tollcross International Swimming Centre - also the venue for the Commonwealth Games next summer - saw Team USA triumph over the European Allstars by a single point in a tense tie-breaker.

The American team had been undefeated in all their previous Duels against either Australia or Europe - and they maintained that winning record after both teams were locked on 131 points after 30 events.

Fans got the chance to see some of Scotland's top swimmers, including Glasgow swimming sensation Robbie, Michael Jamieson, Hannah Miley and Craig McNally.

Robbie, 25, said it was a special experience for him to swim in front of a home crowd.

He said: "The crowd were amazing. We couldn't have asked for any more.

"It's a little taster of what's to come this summer. It's so exciting leading into 2014. It's a huge year for Scottish swimmers. I train here every day - but this place feels like a foreign place to me with the crowd, but it was great support from everyone.

"I feel very honoured to represent my country and team Europe."

A mixed relay tie-breaker eventually settled the contest, which ended on Saturday.

Robbie said: "It was very intense and very exciting and that's the way every Duel meet should be. If only the balance had swung the other way."

Europe had led the points tally 68-54 after day one on Friday.

"That gave us a lot of confidence," Robbie added. "We had never been ahead of the Americans after day one.

"It was such a close finish - but it's sport and these things happen. That's what makes it so exciting.

"It was a fantastic experience and I loved every minute of it."

Team USA touched down at Glasgow Airport last week for the meet, which has become known as the "Ryder Cup of the pool".

World Championships bronze medallist Fran Halsall was part of the European relay team which just missed out on the tie-breaker.

She said: "It's great to just race fast and race the best nation in the world at swimming because America obviously are the best nation."

The 23-year-old said the team enjoyed competing in the pool ahead of next year's Games.

She said: "It's been a great experience, especially to get the experience of a pool where the Commonwealth Games are going to be next year."

EventScotland's chief operating officer Paul Bush described Duel in the Pool as "one of the most spectacular sporting events in the world."

He said: "Scotland is the perfect stage for events."

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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