The post-Olympic game of aquatic musical chairs has just begun in terms of swimmers announcing coaching, club or location changes looking to set themselves up on the best path heading into the new quadrennial.
Scottish swimmer Dan Wallace, who had already moved from his 5-year home at the University of Florida under Coach Gregg Troy to train out of James Guy’s home club of Millfield in the lead-up to Rio, has announced he is now relocating even closer to his roots. The 23-year-old swimmer who made the Olympic final of the men’s 200m IM in Rio will begin his 2018 Commonwealth Games and Tokyo 2020 quest by joining the University of Stirling squad as of October 1st.
Stirling is just 30 minutes from Wallace’s home, “so you can imagine my excitement,” he tells SwimSwam about his move to the club that serves as base to Commonwealth Games and European Champion breaststroker Ross Murdoch. Stirling is also on the map as of late due to Robbie Renwick‘s success as a member of the 2015 World Championship gold medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay, as well as the dawn of newly-minted sprinting stud, 19-year-old Duncan Scott.
Both Renwick and Scott were a member of the British silver medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay in Rio, with Renwick offering a solid prelim leg and Scott throwing down a monster 1:45.05 split in finals. Scott also somewhat surprisingly made the men’s 100m freestyle individual final as well, crushing the British National Record in the process.
Kathleen Dawson, the first Scottish female to score a sub-minute 100m backstroke, has also recently made the move to Stirling, which also already claims World Cup medalist and 2016 Olympian Craig Benson on its roster, along with Jak Scott and Charlie Boldison.
“Coach Ben Higson and I have always had a great relationship and he’s doing some great things there,” Wallace conveys to SwimSwam on his move decision. “I will also be living with my childhood best friend, so I’ll be happy in Stirling. A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.”
Although Wallace stood atop the podium at the World Championships last year as part of Great Britain’s historic gold medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay, his performances at both the British Olympic Trials and European Championships this year were lackluster in comparison. In fact, he almost didn’t make his nation’s roster at all for Rio.
While competing in Glasgow at GBR’s Trials, Wallace could never get his rhythm, failing to even final in the men’s 400m freestyle. Wallace followed that up with a 6th place finish in the 200m IM and 3rd in the 400m IM, with neither performance resulting in a time which cleared the stiff British qualifying standard. Wallace also wound up off the podium in the men’s 200m freestyle, finishing 7th and well-off his time from Kazan last summer.
However, after the dust of Trials settled, Wallace was one of the British coaching staff’s discretionary picks to make the squad and indeed represented GBR in Rio. While competing at the 2016 Olympic Games, Wallace raced his way to the podium as a member of the silver medal-winning British men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, while also placing 8th overall in the men’s 200m IM.
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Wallace will look to repeat as gold medalist in the 400m IM event and upgrade his 2014 Games 200m IM silver to gold.