Camilla Hattersley hails standard of Scottish swimming
Olympian Camilla Hattersley thinks the current crop of Scottish swimmers is even stronger than at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow three years ago.
Hattersley, 22, aims to qualify for the 2018 Gold Coast Games at the Scottish National Open Championships this week.
"Team Scotland has been getting better and better over the years," she said.
"Glasgow 2014 was amazing, but since then we've improved a lot. There are a lot of swimmers coming through who are getting faster, so there's competition."
Hattersley was part of Team Scotland at the the Glasgow 2014 Games, where she finished seventh in the 800m freestyle final, almost 16 seconds behind Welsh gold medal winner Jazz Carlin.
That squad featured the likes of Robbie Renwick, Michael Jamieson, Ross Murdoch, Craig Benson, Erraid Davies and Caitlin McClatchey.
Since then, the Glasgow University student has represented Great Britain at the Rio Olympics and is now targeting posting qualifying times in the 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle for the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year. She hopes, too, to be part of the Scotland relay team.
The City of Glasgow swimmer, coached by Ian Wright, said of the Scottish scene: "There are so many swimmers now who are having success, like Duncan (Scott, aged 20) and Ross (Murdoch, 23).
"They are still pretty young, so we have quite a few years left in us where we can improve. The future is quite hopeful.
"There are a lot of great coaches in Scotland and the training and facilities are good.
"We do a lot of training camps with Scottish Swimming, so that brings the team together. There's a good, positive attitude towards swimming.
"Most of the universities are becoming a lot more flexible with balancing education and sport, so that helps a lot."
Among those with ambitions to win a medal in Aberdeen are University of Stirling swimmer Kathleen Dawson, who at the age of 18 won a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke at last year's European Championships in London, where she was selected on a wildcard. That performance earned her a place in the 4x100m medley where she helped Great Britain win gold.
Another exciting prospect is 15-year-old Keanna MacInnes, who represents the Heart of Midlothian club. She has recently broken the Scottish junior record for the 100m butterfly and 200m butterfly and will swim for GB at the FINA World Junior Championships in Indianapolis in August.
Hattersley, originally from Perth, will compete in the freestyle 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m at the Aberdeen Sports Village. After that, she can post qualifying times at the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield or the World Junior Championships.
"The Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast are definitely within my reach," added the aeronautical engineering student.
"This isn't the only chance to qualify, but I'm hoping I can set a time now and it will take some of the pressure off.
"This is the biggest event that we have in Scotland. All of Scotland's best swimmers will be there."
Hattersley will travel to Chinese Taipei next month to compete in the World University Games before beginning the fourth year of her studies.
"I'm pretty excited about it. I'm hoping to get a medal or two," she said.