ROSS MURDOCH declared himself happy with both his performance and his second-place finish in the 200m breaststroke at the British Swimming Championships in Edinburgh last night.

The four-day meet, which is doubling-up as the Edinburgh International Swim Meet, has attracted some of the world’s best swimmers and is the British swimmers final competitive meet before the Commonwealth Games, which kick-off in just five weeks time in Australia’s Gold Coast.

Murdoch claimed silver in 2 minutes 14.22 seconds, two seconds behind Englishman James Wilby who took gold.

Murdoch was not in the least disheartened by his defeat though, and is well aware that this weekend’s meet is more about getting some race practice in ahead of the Commonwealth Games next month. “It’s really not about times here - I was chatting with Steve (Tigg, Murdoch’s coach) before the race and he said to change the race plan,” Murdoch explained.

“So I focused on not going out with everybody because that’s not my strength at the minute because we’ve not done any race-pace work. So it was about trying to bring it home a little bit harder and trying to be as even as I can through the hundreds.”

Murdoch, who spent January in Australia for a warm-weather training camp, is one of only a few Scots who will travel to Gold Coast with the aim of successfully defending their Commonwealth title but having amassed a wealth of major championship experience over the past four years, he is a good judge of where he should be as he heads into his final preparations but he admits some of his emotions are exactly what he felt pre-Glasgow.

“I’m happy with where I am at the moment,” the 24-year-old said.

“Things went really well in Australia so I’m feeling good. I’m just as excited and just as nervous this time around as I was before Glasgow.

“But looking where I was before Glasgow, my times now are pretty much bang on where I was four years ago.

“I’m absolutely buzzing to put on the Scotland jersey again and the trunks and the hat with my name on it. It’s the small things like that which mean so much.”

Murdoch will have considerable competition for gold in Australia, no least from last night’s gold medallist Wilby, but he admits that he does, occasionally, allow himself to imagine what it would be like to retain his title.

“I do thin k about that - if you don’t allow yourself to dream then I don’t think you’d be a true professional athlete,” he said.

“That’s where it all comes from.”

But the University of Stirling swimmer, who is sporting a full beard and hairy chest at this weekend’s meet, will make a few final tweaks over the next month to ensure he is at his very best come the start of competition at the Commonwealth Games.

“Over the next few weeks, I’m be sharpening up,” he said. “And I’m unshaven coming into this meet so I’ll get the beard off in a few weeks and I’ll have the full body works so that I can reduce the amount of friction in the water.

“At this point, you have to just be confident in the work you’ve done. If you start second-guessing yourself then it’s only going to spell disaster. The support I have at Stirling is brilliant and I’m confident in the work that I’ve put in.

“The next five weeks is the key bit to get right - before this, it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done but it’s the next five weeks that are so important - you just need to stay healthy and have the belief.”

Elsewhere, Hannah Miley followed up her British title win in the 400m individual medley on Thursday with a fourth-place finish in the 200m IM last night, although that was enough to earn her a British Championship bronze medal behind winner Siobhan Marie O’Connor.

In the men’s 400m freestyle, Perth City’s Stephen Milne finished in sixth place, Lucy Hope was second in the 50m freestyle and Camilla Hattersley was fourth in the 800m freestyle behind winner Mireia Belmonte, which was enough to earn the Scot a British Championship silver medal.