Swimmer Quin returns with ‘new coach, new chapter’

Great Britain’s Paralympic medallist Scott Quin will compete at the upcoming World Series in Sheffield with renewed focus. 24 Apr 2017
A Para swimmer competes in breaststroke

Scott Quin is looking forward to a busy 2017 which includes the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships.

Ⓒ© Luc Percival Photography. All rights reserved.
By British Swimming and IPC

“Worlds this year, next year maybe Commonwealth Games. That is why I wanted to get back into training as quickly as possible – new coach, new chapter, new ideas. Not play catch-up or anything.”

When Great Britain’s Scott Quin was born, he was given just a three per cent chance of survival.

Edinburgh-born Quin was diagnosed with Crouzon syndrome, which causes the brain and skull to fuse together, and he underwent hours of surgery.

His childhood years were marked by visits to hospital with parents Eileen and Jimmy, one of three children along with older brother Jason and twin Simon.

Fast forward 26 years, and Quin stood on the podium at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with a silver medal around his neck following a thrilling 100m breaststroke SB14 tussle with team-mate Aaron Moores.

He has a seize-the-day attitude, one he attributes to what he went through in his early years.

He said: “My parents getting told ‘your son has only a three per cent chance to live.’ The way I look at it is the other 97 per cent of me is just pure luck.

“And I think that is where I am quite self-motivated and always want to keep myself going because having the head surgeries and then growing up as a kid in hospital getting check-up after check-up – you’d be sitting there for a good three or four hours, even the whole day.

“I have gone through quite a lot with all the surgery but then my parents have not wrapped me up in cotton wool. They have always been positive with me.”

Quin missed out on the Paralympic title to Moores by just three-hundredths of a second in the Brazilian capital after a stellar year in which he upgraded his silver medal from the European Championships two years earlier to gold in Funchal, Portugal, in May.

However, rather than disappointment, there is only pride for Quin at being in such a close, exciting spectacle which concluded a great campaign.

“Looking back at last year’s performance, it was some season,” he said. “The emotion for me – I’ll be perfectly honest – I’m not heartbroken about missing out by three hundredths of a second.

“I would rather be close to a race like that than know someone is going to win the race by 25m.”

If Quin had any regrets, they would be additional knowledge he would be gaining from coach Kris Gilchrist; the former Olympian has taken a role in Singapore after four and a half years at Quin’s club Warrender.

“It was more mixed emotions because it was Kris Gilchrist’s last time coaching me,” he said.

“So that was our last swim meet [together].

“I was a wee [small] bit ‘agh, all this hard work we have put in over the last number of years and it was like this is it.’

“It wasn’t until after the race when I did the interviews it all kind of sunk in and I was a wee bit emotional – but not too bad.”

There was no post-Paralympic holiday for the 26-year-old who returned to a new coach in Kostas Kalitsis alongside Laurel Bailey.

Instead he was ready to get back in the water only for Kalitsis to urge him to take time away from the pool to recover from his exertions.

That is something that did not come easily for Quin who believes that an integral part of an athlete’s recovery and ability to stay at the top is to maintain the routine which has taken them there.

“The way I looked at it was I had six days after my race where I was exhausted, I had no energy, my head was all over the place,” he explained.

“So when I came back I was like right I’ve had my six-day break, that will do me but then my new coach Kostas said ‘no Scotty boy, you are not ready to get back in yet.’

“I’d be in the living room at home saying ‘oh, I’m going crazy, I need to train, I need to train, I need to train.’

“I went out and did a nice light run and did things to keep myself occupied but I literally only took a week and a half off.”

Next up is the British Para Swimming International Meet at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, from Thursday (27 April) which doubles as a World Para Swimming World Series, before Mexico City hosts the World Championships.

Quin also has his eyes on next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. With no 100m breaststroke SB14, he has been working on his 200m freestyle in a bid to qualify.

“Worlds this year, next year maybe Commonwealth Games. That is why I wanted to get back into training as quickly as possible – new coach, new chapter, new ideas. Not play catch-up or anything.”

Quin is the latest in a long line of fine Scottish breaststrokers and he has had the opportunity to swap skills and tips with many of the current crop.

“For me it has been a positive thing having a lot of breaststrokers around … training with and learning from them,” he said.

“At the start of last year in January, me and Michael Jamieson [2012 Olympic 200m breaststroke silver medallist] did a training session together.

“I got some breaststroke tips from him and some of his skills and I gave him one or two of my skills.

“As you could say we had a nice, wee bromance having a session.

“I’ve also had sessions with Ross Murdoch [Commonwealth 200m breaststroke champion] and Craig Benson [double Olympian] when they have been training with Stirling on some camps so I learn a lot from other people around me, not just a coach telling me.

“I like to learn from athletes that are really good. Learning from athletes like that and getting to know them better: I think it helped me as an athlete, but it also helped me that yes I might be a Para athlete but it shows able-bodied athletes show [me] the respect.”

The World Series takes in some of the biggest Para swimming competitions around the world ahead of the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City, from 30 September-6 October.

As well as Sheffield, Indianapolis, USA; and Berlin, Germany, will host events between March-July.

Tickets to the Sheffield 2017 World Series are available. A livestream will also be shown.