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Dave Grohl is no match for Glasgow crowd, says Murdoch ; Tollcross tumult will drown out the music

July 23, 2014

ROSS MURDOCH is thinking of giving Dave Grohl, Mark Knopfler and Paolo Nutini a few days off. The Scottish swimmer's recent performances in the pool have tended to follow a period of aural stimulation from some of his favourite artists. Often, he reveals, the music blaring through his headphones as he makes his way to the starting block is there to "psyche himself up", with the Foo Fighters a particular favourite.

Other times, when the adrenaline is already pumping around his body, he plumps instead for music of a more sedate pace, perhaps a Nutini or Dire Straits ballad to help take the edge off things.

The 20 year-old is yet to decide what his walk-on music will be for the Commonwealth Games but, given their location, he is beginning to wonder whether he will need to provide his own soundtrack at all. If there is one constant thing to emerge from the countless numbers of interviews that have been conducted with members of Team Scotland over the past few months, it is that all expect the backing of a presumably raucous and sizeable home support to prove influential in their chosen discipline.

Murdoch, who will go in the 50m, 100m, and 200m breaststroke as well as the 4x100m medley relay, is beginning to come around to the idea that blocking out those cheers by having headphones on his lugs might well be counter-productive. For now it looks, then, that come competition time the Sultans of Swing may well be shelved for the sound of the Tollcross Tumult.

"When we got to the pool the other night the Queen's baton relay was actually passing through as well," he revealed. "There were a load of people just there to see the relay but when they saw us come off the bus they were like, "Look, it's the Team Scotland swimmers!" and screaming and waving. That was pretty cool to experience.

"I think it's something I embrace and it will push me on come Games time when you walk out for heats or even finals and there are Scotland supporters cheering you on.

"That's what could give Team Scotland as a whole an edge over other competitors.

"Sometimes I listen to music coming out to the poolside, and I've done that in the last few competitions. It's something I'm experimenting with to see how it changes the emotions or how I feel before a race. It's usually something that gets me psyched up for my race but I've also used music to calm me down as well. I don't know if I'll need music in Glasgow. I'm already buzzing and excited and that's before the crowd has started cheering."

Murdoch has achieved plenty already in his embryonic swimming career - he won gold at both the Scottish and British championships this year - but this will be his first taste of a multi-sport games as a competitor. He travelled to London two years ago to watch team- mate Michael Jamieson compete in the Olympic Games and is now relishing the chance of experiencing something similar for himself.

"I watched the London Olympics and wished I could have been a part of that," he said. "I was lucky enough to get tickets to watch Michael swim in the heats and to be there in the crowd - when he set a personal best - was amazing. The whole place was making a racket. It was brillant and I only hope Glasgow can be like that.

"It was around five or six years ago [that he first thought about possibly competing at these Games]. It was just a dream back then, I didn't honestly think it could be a reality. I wasn't the best age group swimmer. It took me until I was 17 or 18 before I posted any decent times in terms of Scottish or British swimming. Around the summer of 2011 it became more realistic that I could set out for this. This is what I've wanted over those three years, to be a part of these home Games. Physically I'm in a really good place. I put in a lot of work over the last couple of months since the trials."

Murdoch's 100m breaststroke event will see him line up against the best in the world at that distance. He hopes he isn't fazed by the level of competition. "It is my favoured event and racing against these guys is something I'm going to use for future events as well. The more times I race against Christian Sprenger and Cameron van der Burgh before the Rio Olympics, the better. I just need to have experience against these top guys as it was almost a little overwhelming at last year's world championships.

"It's good to be the underdog, it means there's not an awful lot of pressure on you. I don't mind that as no-one puts as much pressure on me as I do myself anyway. You can only do your best on race day regardless of who's standing next to you."

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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)

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