FEW teams mix youth and experience quite as seamlessly as Commonwealth Games squads, and Team Scotland’s swimming contingent for Birmingham 2022 has done quite a job in blending the two. 

Spearheading the 24-strong squad are several major championship medallists, and they are accompanied by teenage debutants aiming to make their mark on the international stage for the first time. 

Olympic champion Duncan champion Duncan Scott headlines the squad, while fellow Olympians Ross Murdoch, Craig Benson, Lucy Hope, Cassie Wild and Stephen Milne, as well as Paralympic medallists, Stephen Clegg and Toni Shaw, provide the experience, while on the other end of the spectrum, the likes of Katie Shanahan, Keanna MacInnes, Emma Russell and 16-year-old Holly McGill, Team Scotland’s youngest team member so far, are all aiming to make their mark. 

Another in the category of fledgling prospect is 20-year-old Archie Goodburn, a breaststroker from Edinburgh whose successful junior career saw him earmarked as one of Scottish swimming’s next big things. 

A World Junior medallist and former Scottish Young Sportsperson of the Year, it is no surprise that Goodburn is beginning to break onto the international stage but it has not always, he admits, been plain sailing. 

“Coming through the junior ranks, everything went right for me and I had a very positive experience but the transition to this point hasn’t been completely smooth,” he says. 

“As you get older, you realise it’s not a smooth path for anyone – you can look at other people and join up their high points and it looks like it’s a straight line to success, but it never is.” 

The major bump in the road for Goodburn was his relocation from his home city of Edinburgh to the High Performance Centre in Loughborough. 

With several truly world class swimmers based there, it is easy to see why a teenage Goodburn snapped up his invitation to join them but relatively quickly, he realised the set-up in Loughborough wasn’t for him. 

He returned to Edinburgh at the start of 2022, joining up with head coach Mat Troden, and that has transformed his career at just the right time. 

“I don’t regret taking the opportunity to go to Loughborough because it’s a fantastic programme but it just wasn’t for me,” he says.  

“But the move to Edinburgh has worked so well – I can really feel my successful self coming back and I’m hoping that’ll translate into some pretty special performances at the Commonwealth Games. 

“I don’t have a bad word to say about anyone at Loughborough and so the decision to leave was really difficult. I give a lot of credit to myself for trying it but also for being able to say this isn’t quite right for me.  

“It was a bit of a risk coming back to Edinburgh but it’s completely paid off and I’m really excited about the future.” 

Goodburn, who specialises in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, was only 13 years old when his compatriots, Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson faced off at Glasgow 2014 in the 200m breaststroke final. 

He remembers Murdoch’s victory like it was yesterday and he also recalls being confident that he too would soon be on the Commonwealth stage. 

He was, he acknowledges, incredibly naïve about the amount of work required to make it onto the international stage, particularly in his event which also includes one of the all-time great swimmers, Adam Peaty, as well fellow Brit and world medallist, James Wilby.  

The Commonwealth podium in the 100m breaststroke later this summer is likely to be truly world class and so Goodburn’s focus is on himself, particularly as he hopes Birmingham 2022 will be merely the first of a long list of major championship appearances. 

“In my event, if you want to get onto the podium at the Commonwealths, you’re going to have to beat some of the best in the world,” he says. 

“For me in Birmingham, making a final would be great but more than anything, I’m gunning for a big personal best.  

“Realistically, though, I’m there to learn as much as I can both from the Games themselves and from the athletes around me to help me make a big splash in four years time.  

“This is the first step towards where I want to be in my senior career.” 

Also revealed was Team Scotland’s diving squad, with Grace Reid and James Heatly headlining a seven-strong contingent. 

Reid will head to her fourth Commonwealth Games, where she will be defending her 1m springboard title while Heatly will be attempting to improve on his bronze medal four years ago, also in the 1m springboard.