London 2012 medallist Michael Jamieson 'definitely' not done with swimming

By Amy MacBeathBBC Sport Scotland
Michael Jamieson and his Olympic silver medal
Michael Jamieson shows off his London 2012 silver medal after finishing second in the 200m breaststroke

It is almost four years since swimmer Michael Jamieson basked in the spotlight of Olympic glory.

The then 23-year-old powered down the final stretch in the Aquatic Centre pool in London, spurred along by an increasingly raucous home support.

In that last 50m he picked up the pace, gaining with every pull at the water, but missed out on gold by the slimmest of margins.

In fact double world champion Daniel Gyurta of Hungary had to break the 200m breaststroke world record to fend off the Scot, who took his own share of the spoils in the shape of a silver medal.

He was also the first Scottish swimmer to take that honour since David Wilkie in Montreal in 1976.

In 2016, he is back poolside in London, but this time watching his Great Britain team-mates gear up for the Rio Olympics at the European Championships.

"It's obviously disappointing not to be here as an athlete," said Jamieson. "That is my job, that is what I'd like to be here as primarily.

"It's tough, especially in our events as you really have to be at the top of your game to qualify, but I expect myself to do that."

Michael Jamieson
Jamieson revealed he has trained full-time since becoming a teenager

Jamieson has had a frustrating couple of seasons, which saw him suffer a heart scare and lose to rival Ross Murdoch in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

And, at the British trials last month, he came fifth in 2:10.55 - two seconds outside of the qualifying mark - and missed out on Rio selection.

It led to speculation about retirement for the seemingly devastated swimmer, who said his body was struggling to cope with the intensity.

Jamieson is currently taking time out to ponder his future, and whether it lies in the pool.

"I think it's wise to take a little bit of a break just now," he told BBC Scotland. "I'm still doing some training and staying in shape but I think taking a step away from it leading into the Games is important because I've never really done that.

"I'm enjoying having some goals outside of the pool for now."

But the Glaswegian is by no means done with swimming.

"Not at all," he insisted. "It would be silly to make any rash decisions. There's a lot of people involved in a decision like that and I look to them for advice to make any plan going forward.

"I'm just trying to take a bit of pressure and stress off it, and relax and enjoy things a bit more."

GB's Rio chances

While he enjoys the view from the commentary decks, Jamieson said his fellow Scots are in a "really exciting position" ahead of the Games.

"A lot of them are really training right through this competition, whereas many of the European nations are shaved and fully rested, having just come off their national championships," he explained.

"For example, Hannah [Miley] was 4:35 in the 400m medley - that's a brilliant swim, given the training mode she's in which puts her in a really good position and I'm sure she'll have a real boost of confidence from that performance."

Hannah Miley
Hannah Miley qualified for Rio by winning silver in the women's 200m final at the British Championships

Scot Miley took silver in that event, finishing behind a dominant Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, and will also compete in the 200m individual medley semi-final on Wednesday evening.

"Another block of training and some rest and hopefully we'll see her chasing Katinka down in Rio," Jamieson said of Miley.

The European long course event falls before Olympic Games every second meet and Jamieson believes it is a useful marker for the athletes heading to Rio, even if when not fully prepared for racing.

"The aim at competitions like this is to get as close to your lifetime best, knowing that there's a lot more to come in the summer in terms of rest and that taper period," he said.

And while Jamieson is not part of the pool contingent who will be on that plane to Brazil, the fact he has not qualified only further demonstrates how Great Britain are dominating the men's breaststroke going into Rio 2016.

"Ross [Murdoch] swam 59.1 in Kazan last summer at the World Championships to take bronze so to be half-a-second from his lifetime best doing the training programme he is in right now will give him a huge boost of confidence," said Jamieson.

"[Great Britain] is the strongest nation in the world in these events just now, there's no doubting that.

"You have Adam [Peaty] with Ross on the top spots here, they were both on the podium at the World Championships - that's over a long period we've proven to be the number one nation in male breaststroke."

Scottish swimmers Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Jamieson (right) suffered a surprise defeat when fellow Scot Murdoch beat him to gold at Glasgow 2014

No curtain yet

Jamieson has come to terms with not returning to attempt his London 2012 triumph, instead hoping to travel to South America to cheer on his fellow swimmers as a spectator.

But that does not mean it does not still hurt.

"I'm really happy for the guys getting on the podium but of course I'd like to be there," he admitted.

"A lot of that is down to my training history as a youngster coming through the ranks as I've been training as a full-time athlete since I was 13 so I started very, very young.

"I think that's taken a couple of years off the other end but no regrets as I've had a fantastic career until now and a little break to refresh things and then we'll take it from there."