Glasgow 2014: Michael Jamieson thrives on Games pressure

By Jane Lewis & Cheri BurnsBBC Scotland
Michael Jamieson
Jamieson carries the hopes of a nation in the Commonwealth Games
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Dates: 23 July to 3 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Scotland, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, tablets and mobiles

Scotland's Michael Jamieson thinks he can use the pressure of swimming at a home Commonwealth Games to his advantage in the bid for Glasgow gold.

"Athletes go one of two ways in the major competitions," said the Olympic and Commonwealth silver medallist, 25.

"You either thrive in that atmosphere or you don't enjoy it and you're not able to get the best out of yourself.

"I've performed well in the last few years and I've shown that I can handle everything that comes with it."

Jamieson knows what it feels like to get on a Commonwealth podium, having taken silver from his favoured race, the 200m breaststroke, in Delhi four years ago.

And, after following that up with the same outcome at London 2012, he has never felt in better shape and is ready to take his success to a new level in front of an expectant Scottish crowd.

"Since the Olympics in London, things have really come a full 180-degree turn for me and I've been enjoying it a lot more this season," he explained.

"That's the main thing that's changed; I'm now of the mindset and have the belief that I can challenge for titles, as opposed to always targeting that podium finish. I'm a lot hungrier for more medals and more success now.

"It'll be a world-class field in my race and I need to be in the best shape of my life to give myself the best opportunity.

"It's definitely going to take a British record - faster than I swam in London - to get the result I'm looking for but I'm confident. If you have a lack of self-belief, at that level, you'll be found out."

Michael Jamieson
Jamieson's popularity grew after his silver at London 2012

As a poster boy for the Glasgow spectacle, Jamieson is well aware that it is a competition that will be like no other and is determined to make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I've got a huge chance to do something special, not only in the pool but in terms of that having an influence on sport in general," he added.

"You've such a short shelf-life as an athlete - I've probably only got a few more seasons before I'm too old for it - so I also have a responsibility to promote things in Glasgow.

"To be part of a home Olympic Games followed by a home Commonwealth Games is completely unheard of and I'm just desperate to make the most of it.

"To have so many people behind me is going to be amazing and I need to make sure that I use that to my advantage and not let it get on top of me.

"As long as I can maintain perspective and still have part of myself that's able to enjoy it for the occasion and spectacle it is then I'm sure I'll be able to swim my best time and, fingers crossed, that'll put me in the mix."