Team Scotland’s Michael Jamieson grew up just a stone’s throw away from Tollcross International Swimming Centre. Today the venue will host the first Swimming competitions of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and Michael will be competing in one of the biggest races of his life.
“Being back at Tollcross will be huge” explains the 25 year old. “I spent so many years in that pool; it’s where I decided I wanted to be a professional athlete. To imagine what it will be like competing there, in my home city, full of cheering crowds – it’s going to be pretty special.”
The Glasgow School of Sport graduate showed signs of being a champion swimmer from an early age.
“Even at school, it shown through that Michael was going to do well at the breaststroke” explains Bill Ruddock, Assistant High Performance Swimming Coach.
Michael first tasted global success at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, bringing back a Silver medal from his first senior international competition for his efforts in the 200m Breaststroke.
"The Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games was my first taste of silverware on the senior international stage, and it was an amazing experience. It was great to make that step up, especially whilst representing Team Scotland.”
Michael followed Delhi 2010 with another Silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games whilst representing Team GB, but believes that with more self-confidence he can take the Gold in Glasgow.
“In London it was hard not to put so much pressure on myself” he reflects. “The goal was always to win a medal, but I never really believed I could win Gold until I had about 25m of the race left.
“I was obviously delighted with the Silver, but now I look back on it I think, what could have happened if I really backed myself to win the race? That’s exactly why I’m still in the sport, and why I’m hungrier than ever to win at Glasgow 2014.”
Not only is Michael targeting Gold in the 200m Breaststroke, he is also aiming to break the world record of 7.01 seconds, set by Japan’s Akihiro Yamaguchi in 2012.
Michael also faces tough competition in the race from five of the top eight swimmers in the world competing, including Australian Christian Sprenger, who he beat to Silver in Delhi four years ago.
With his face covering posters and billboards in the massive build-up to the Games, and the nation’s hopes weighing on his shoulders, Michael has tried his best to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
“I’m a Glaswegian, so I’m never going to get carried away with anything” Michael jokes. “I hope I have that type of personality that I can handle expectations positively.”
You can watch Michael compete in the 200m Breaststroke with the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games, from today until 3 August.