ith the Commonwealth Games starting in just a few short weeks, the Scottish aquatics team fly out today to Australia’s Gold Coast. And no doubt we’re all asking the same burning question: what will they be wearing? While you’d expect them to be taking a good mixture of clothes for competing and clothes for relaxing, swimmer Dan Wallace has prepared something a bit more special.
For Scotland's Individual Medley specialist, this is definitely the time for tartan. And not just any tartan. Dan couldn’t think of a better way of showing pride and personality, than with a shiny new tailor made MacLachlan Modern tartan suit, designed, made-up and delivered by ScotlandShop - and of course, we couldn’t agree more.
Olympic and Commonwealth Games medal winner Dan explains his choice: “I think everyone looks good in tartan. I love wearing tartan; it’s a very Scottish thing and I like to be reminded of my root. Especially when I’m going out to Australia, it’ll be great to have a piece of home with me.”
Great though it looks, to Dan and the Scottish team, tartan is more than just colourful clothing. “When you wear tartan, you feel very proud to be Scottish. I represent Great Britain quite a lot but it’s only every four years I get to represent Scotland so it’s a different sense of pride and it really does help you and keep you motivated. We’re such a small country but we’ve got a lot of pride.”
And if you think Dan the man flaunting his tartan sounds like a familiar story, you’re right. This isn’t the first time he’s sported tartan at the games. At the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, he made quite a splash.
Four years ago I wore the team tartan out for my last race, which isn’t strictly what you’re meant to do but I thought it’d be a bit of fun. I walked out in a kilt and the crowd went absolutely crazy. It was a great way to end in Glasgow so hopefully I’ll wear some tartan again in my last race.
So, we have to ask, why not a kilt? After much deliberation and discussion in our Edinburgh shop, flicking through hundreds of swatches, deliberating between something predominantly blue or red, Dan opted for the striking trousers, waistcoat and jacket combination, in that strong bright red of the MacLachlan Modern tartan. “It’s really cool to have my own family’s tartan for my kilt but it’s also been really cool this time round to pick a tartan I really like the colour and the feel of. That makes my suit more unique to me than my kilt.”
The Scottish team will be sporting their own tartan kit, designed for the opening and closing ceremonies, although don’t be surprised if you can’t spot the swimmers as their events begin the following day so they have to save their energy and rest up while the other athletes parade. Aquatics team mates include Keanna MacInnes from Edinburgh, bronze medallist at the World Junior Championships and according to Dan a very focused young athlete with a clear plan for her swimming future. At only 16 Keanna can look to colleague Duncan Scott for inspiration as he won silver in the Freestyle Relay team in Glasgow 4 years ago when he was only 17. With swimming first on the programme the team want to set the pace for the medals for Team Scotland
And while Dan will be focused on his events, as soon as his part in the competition is over, he’ll be taking the opportunity to celebrate in tartan style. “Any opportunity to put my tartan suit on, I’m gonna grab that”. So, amongst the team kits and tans, look out for Dan in his striking hand picked tartan suit.
Dan’s events this year are the 200m Individual Medley, the 200m Freestyle Relay and the 400m Individual Medley and we wish him and all of the Scotland team the best of luck. We hope the tartan does the trick!