Commonwealth Games: Braveheart-inspired Dan Wallace roars to victory

PTI| Updated: Jul 26, 2014, 08:52 AM IST

Glasgow: Dan Wallace said he had been inspired by the film "Braveheart" as he won Scotland`s third swimming gold medal of the Commonwealth Games on home soil in the men`s 400m individual medley.

Wallace came home in a time of 4min 11:28sec to pip Australia`s Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Sebastien Rousseau of South Africa into second and third respectively.

The 21-year-old could be seen bellowing "Freedom" after touching the wall to seal the win, just as his namesake William Wallace does in the film.

"I just screamed `freedom` at the top of my lungs because just being here in front of a home crowd just brought out the Braveheart inside of me," he said.

"I watched it just last week to get ready for this. It`s such a Scottish thing. It warms my heart."

However, Wallace also didn`t play down the political significance of his celebration just two months out from a referendum on Scottish independence.

Asked whether he would support First Minister Alex Salmond`s view on freedom, Wallace replied "yes I would."

Victory represented a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Wallace after being indefinitely suspended by the University of Florida for a violation of team rules on a night out in May.

And he admitted that reprimand should prove to be a positive turning point in his career.
"I was very close (to not making the team).

"I reached a point in my life where I had to choose which path I was going to take and I think being here with a gold medal for Scotland proves I chose the right one.

"I was trying to live the life of a rock star and still perform in the pool, but you can`t do both.
"I`m a professional athlete and I have to act and behave accordingly."

Wallace`s gold capped another memorable night for the hosts in the pool as Corrie Scott also claimed bronze in the women`s 50m breaststroke.

And Wallace hailed the impact of having a vociferous home crowd on their side at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

"It was absolutely amazing. I have never experienced anything like it so I wasn`t going to waste the opportunity."

Wallace`s fine final 100 metres proved to be too good for Fraser-Holmes, but he was still delighted to take silver having won the men`s 200m freestyle ahead of teammate Cameron McEvoy earlier in the evening.

"I had some maturing to do, physically and mentally. I have had to and be patient over the years and I really need to capitalise on that now to be competitive.

"It probably hurt with 150m to go. I had to just keep long and strong, but my legs were shot on the last turn."