ROSS MURDOCH is nervous.

Despite being a seasoned campaigner when it comes to major championships, the 25-year-old still gets butterflies as an important meet approaches.

And with Murdoch’s next event being on home turf, there is an extra layer of pressure.

This week, Murdoch will compete in the European Short-Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow and he admits he is feeling a few flutters already.

“I am nervous, but I’m okay with that because it means you care, it shows it means something to me,” he said.

“Short course isn’t traditionally one of my strengths but I’ve been really enjoying it over the past two years. In 2017, I made my first international final for short course and so this time, I’m looking to try to tangle with the best of them. I want to be making more than one final though.”

It is now less than eight months from the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympics and in elite sport terms, that is nothing. Murdoch is already thinking about Tokyo daily and he is optimistic about where he is ahead of next summer. Last season may not have been quite the success he hoped for, but he was close enough to his best form that he is feeling positive about the coming year.

“Everything I do at the moment is with a view to Tokyo,” the University of Stirling swimmer said. “There’s a lot of stuff that we need to look at from last year. Last year was a year where I felt like I was on the cusp of something. But it didn’t quite come off.

“That’s a frustrating place to be but it’s also really positive in that you know you’ve done a lot of work and you’re almost there, you can feel it. We know I’m on the right track, it’s just about turning over every pebble on the beach.”

For the European Championships, he will be returning to the pool where he made his name. In 2014, Murdoch defeated Glasgow 2014 poster boy Michael Jamieson to win 200m breaststroke gold at the Commonwealth Games.

It was such an eye-catching moment that even more than five years on, the race remains inextricably linked with Murdoch. However, he has talked of his desire not to be defined by Glasgow 2014, and is clear about what he would far rather be remembered for once his career is over.

“Of course, it would be amazing to win an Olympic gold medal and for that to be the thing I’m known for rather than Glasgow,” he said. “Maybe that’s not realistic but nobody is fighting to lose – I’m fighting to win and if it doesn’t come off, that’s not necessarily what I’d use to define my career.

“But more than anything, I want to be the person who’s known as someone who didn’t give up and who stuck about. I want to be the guy who had good times and bad times, but he didn’t go away and will always give his best. I don’t want to be remembered for one snapshot in my life, I want to have longevity.”

At only 25, Murdoch may still be a mere youngster in normal terms. But in the world of elite swimming, many in their mid to late twenties are starting to think about retirement. Murdoch is no different, and thoughts of what he will do post-swimming have crossed his mind. During a fallow period following the Rio Olympics, the Balloch man contemplated calling it quits there and then but he battled through and got himself back on an upward track.

“I definitely feel like I’m too young to retire just yet,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got more to give. Whether other people feel that or not is irrelevant to me. I’m not satisfied that I’m on the decline. Some of my performances might suggest that I’ve stagnated, but I don’t feel that’s the case. There’s no reason I can’t go faster than I ever have.

"There’s a quote from Ross Edgley, who swam around Britain, he said: 'Naive enough to start, stubborn enough to finish', and that really resonated with me. I’ll be damned if I’m not stubborn enough to see this through.”

But Murdoch is not an athlete who will cling on forever. Retirement comes to everyone and he believes he will know when the time is right.

“The day I’ll retire is the day I wake up and think 'I can’t get any better',” he said. “If I need to go through losing funding and spending my savings, if I feel like I’ve got more to give, I’ll do that. When I feel like I can’t go any faster, that’ll be the day I stop.”