Precisely one hour before each race, Ross Murdoch ingests a double espresso and trusts it will serve as a caffeinated crack of the whip. Of late, the 25-year-old admits, he has lacked an extra froth on top when it has been most required. On the second evening of the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow, as on the first, he had to bow to the superiority of his familiar nemesis Adam Peaty. Yet the Scot senses he is close, maddeningly so, to proving he can still brew up a storm.

The world record holder, as his wont, blew clear to victory in the final of the 50 metres breaststroke final in 26.49 seconds. “I was expecting this to be a little bit quicker,” he shrugged. Already triumphant in the 100m, a successful defence of both his global titles in Gwangju, South Korea, will be expected come July.

Murdoch was second but in the pool where he savoured the elation of a Commonwealth gold on home soil five years ago, it still gnaws at his pride that he is not more competitive. “Top two is good but I want personal bests,” he declared. “I’ve been stagnant for a couple of years. But I feel like it’s coming. It’s been a drought in terms of PBs but I’m pretty happy with the work I’ve put in and it can only really go up from here.”

Opportunity still knocks for him to accompany the Englishman toward Asia should he – as with Craig Benson who came third – excel over 200m tomorrow where James Wilby, who skipped the 50m finale, will start favourite. “I definitely feel I can get out and attack the 200,” Murdoch declared. “I’ve got a lot of easy speed there, just not the top end yet. But that probably bodes well for the 200, If I can get through the first 100 nice and easy, I’m definitely in there with a shout. And I don’t have Adam to worry about.”

Duncan Scott has his eyes on several prizes this week but the European and Commonwealth gold medallist trailed James Guy in their opening gambit in the 200m butterfly. Their Anglo-Scottish duel ultimately was decided by less than four-tenths of a second.

“I’m disappointed with that,” affirmed Scott. ”I think there is more in the tank. I don’t swim that event that often but when I do, I want to make the most of it.”

Nevertheless, the fly sits towards the lower end of a priority list that is topped by the 100 metres freestyle which he will pursue today.

“The plan is to see how fast I can go compared to 2018,” the 21-year-old confirmed. “It will be a good battle. There are some good boys in there. It will be interesting to see what the heats are like and what happens out of it.”