Commonwealth champion Ross Murdoch is swapping the pool for the police following his graduation from the University of Stirling, but says he “still dreams about swimming” every night.
The university gave his career in the pool a springboard after he joined in 2012 as part of the high performance swim programme.
Murdoch graduated on Friday with a masters degree in sport management, and is now set to begin a career in policing – though may also return to the pool.
He announced he was retiring from swimming last December – but returned for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this year, winning three bronze medals.
He has refused to rule out another return to the pool and said he could consider competing at the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
He said: “A Commonwealth Games is a massive thing. It really does feel like a family – that feeling of swimming for Scotland, there’s just nothing else like it.”
The university supported Murdoch as he competed at two Olympics and three Commonwealth Games.
“I’ve not officially retired but I haven’t been training in the pool for several weeks,” he added.
“For me, if I still feel this type of fire in eight or nine months, I could consider the possibility of another Commonwealth Games.
“But training for a Games is a difficult job and I need to wait and see with everything else – and whether it balances with my life after sport.
“For me, swimming for Scotland was the biggest thing.
“It was always my main dream and I’ve gone on to compete at two Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games, and numerous World and European Championships.
“I’m so proud of myself that I’ve managed to achieve that.”
Murdoch, from Balloch in West Dunbartonshire, shot to fame when he won gold in the 200-metre breaststroke and became the hero of Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games.
He said Stirling has been a “very big part” of his life over the last decade, and he has been “very privileged” to call it his home.
“The way that our coaching staff have set up the swim programme ensures that everyone gets what they need; everyone’s work is really tailored and unique to them – and I think that just helps get the best out of everybody each season and increases the longevity of the swimmers,” he said.
“I believe that’s why the athletes that we have here don’t just swim for one cycle – they swim for two or three Olympic cycles, and I think that’s only going to improve in the future.
“I have built up quite a lot of experience over the years – and I’ve never been one to learn the easy way.
“I think somebody who has taken a few hard knocks and learned the hard way is often better to hear from, so I’d love to be able to pass anything like that on to anyone else.”