ELITE sport, the fashionable opinion has decreed, is all about achieving marginal gains. But Duncan Scott would rather advances in the swimming pool arrived in hefty chunks.

Quietly, his winter’s work has been designed to shave precious slices off times and enhance a technique that has already delivered so much. But the 21-year-old also craves a range that extends beyond the freestyle. An all-rounder, rather than a specialist, with options to burn.

Victory was his in the 200 metres individual medley on the opening night of the Edinburgh International meeting, positive signs with the British trials for this year’s world championships just four weeks away. His speed looks as quick as ever, with second place in the 200m free behind James Guy providing a boon for both.

But Scott has other tricks up his sleeve. Ross Murdoch, his training partner at the University of Stirling, confided his young colleague is now pushing him in occasional gambits in the breaststroke discipline in which the ex-Commonwealth champion has long channelled his energies.

“Ross is being modest,” the double Olympic silver medallist rebutted. “He was at the end of a very different set to me and it’s a very different environment doing it in a 200IM than pushing a 50 in training.” And yet, it attests to the prowess Scott has acquired that allows him – and his coach Steve Tigg - to think even bigger than the European title he landed last August in Glasgow.

Which could mean bids on multiple fronts, back at Tollcross, for the trials. And myriad opportunities in South Korea in July to land a maiden global individual crown. He seems in a better place than ever, talent and experience now coming together well.

“I remember this week last year I swam awful,” he said. ‘I think people got hold of that. But it doesn’t matter how I swim in-season, whether good or bad. I’ve still got a couple of important phases before trials and I’m looking forward to it.”

Murdoch is equally buoyant although he had to settle for second spot behind is chief domestic rival James Wilby in the 200 metres breaststroke. He too has tinkered and he senses the rewards for his endeavours will soon come.

“I’ve been training really well,” the 25-year-old said. “I know athletes always say they’re in the best shape ever but I’ve made a few more tweaks under the water and they’ve helped, small things like changing my kick.”

He and Wilby will need to raise their bars still further today for a primetime showdown with magisterial Olympic champion Adam Peaty over 100 metres. A fun prospect, Murdoch declared.

“It’s all the more interesting because I’ve not done a 100m long course since the European Championships. The last one I had was 59.1 seconds and I was disappointed not to get another chance to see what that could have been.”

Then, a ridiculous technicality that forbade three finalists from the same nation disbarred him from a medal shot in Glasgow.

“I felt I was ready to graduate into the big boy leagues but I wasn’t allowed to do it. So, I’m looking forward to another dig at it.”

Elsewhere, Craig McNally ended up second to Germany’s Christian Diener in the 100m backstroke, East Kilbride’s Yvonne Brown won the 200 butterfly and

Cassie Wild trailed home Bath-based Jessica Fullalove in the 100m backstroke.

Hannah Miley came sixth in the 400m freestyle on her return from surgery. “It was nice to come and enjoy racing again,” she said. Her troublesome ankle survived. “It’s still attached,” she grinned.