WHEN Dan Wallace was preparing for Glasgow 2014, his one and only focus was himself.

This is an entirely understandable mindset for an elite athlete – and one that paid dividends; Wallace departed the Commonwealth Games four years ago as one of Team Scotland’s most successful athletes, winning gold in the 400m individual medley, silver in the 200m individual medley and a second silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

A lot has changed for Wallace in the intervening four years ago. The most significant change is that he undertook his Glasgow 2014 build-up in Florida where he was studying whereas these days, the 24-year-old is based in his home city of Edinburgh.

And he has added a World Championship gold medal and Olympic silver medal, both won in the relay, to his collection in the past few years.

Not everything has been positive for Wallace in since the 2014 Commonwealth Games though; last year, he was stripped of his funding and suspended from the British Swimming programme for three months after admitting to drink-driving.

All of these experiences have resulted in a more mature Wallace and going into Gold Coast and so he has an entirely different mindset in comparison to four years ago.

“I love being a team player so that’s my attitude going into these Games – what can I do for the team?,” he said.

“That’s a difference compared to what I was like before Glasgow – four years ago, I was a really young swimmer whereas this time around, I’m a bit older and can give a bit more back to the team.

“That’s why I’m really looking forward to the relay. It’s going to be a tough race – the Aussies are going to be on home turf and England always have a good team so it’s going to be whoever swims the best on the day. But we’ve got a very good team too and we’re feeling good.”

Wallace goes into these Commonwealth Games with considerably more pressure upon his shoulders than he did four years ago. Back then, he was almost completely unknown outwith the swimming world whereas now, he is something of a household name, in no small part to his celebration shout of “Freedom” following his 400m IM victory in Glasgow.

But rather than be distracted by that, he is relishing having the opportunity to perform on the big stage once again.

“There is a bit of pressure on me now but I think that over the years, I’ve learnt to deal with that and feel like I’ve actually learnt to thrive in those situations,” he said.

“Last time, it was my only my second ever international meet – I’d had the World Championships and then I had the Commies so I went in there with a totally fresh mind and a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.

“So I’m hoping that when I go to Gold Coast, I’ll have that same enthusiastic attitude and hopefully that will help me get some good results.

“The way I swim is that I usually drop a lot of time when I come to the big meets. . My skills are there, my fitness is there so I’m feeling good going into these Games.”

Wallace is just one of a number of Scottish swimmers who have an exceptional opportunity to make a real mark in Gold Coast.

The last time the Commonwealth Games were held in Australia, in 2006, Scotland performed exceptionally, returning home with twelve medals from the pool, including six gold.

The squad’s prospects this time around are just as encouraging, if not even more so, and Wallace is determined to contribute to the medal tally both in the individual events, where he will defend his 400m IM crown, and the relays, where Scotland’s 4x200m freestyle team, which will also include Olympic medallists Duncan Scott and Stephen Milne, could spring a shock and take gold ahead of hosts Australia and England.

“I’m getting really excited now,” he admitted.

“The Aussies had their trials a few weeks ago so that was good to see where everyone is at and it gives you an idea of what it is going to take to be the best.

“I’m really excited to get going – and I’m also going to enjoy myself representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.

“I do a lot of visualisation to help me prepare for meets and so I’ve seen myself defend my title and I’ve also seen myself win new titles so hopefully that’s how it works out.”