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Olympian Wallace 'embarrassed' by conviction

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Commonwealth Games and Olympic swimming medallist Dan Wallace says he is embarrassed about his conviction for drink driving three months ago.

The 24-year-old faces an anxious wait to see if he will be selected next week by Team Scotland for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next spring.

Wallace was two-and-a-half times over the limit when he was arrested and as a result banned from driving for a year.

“There was a lot of regret as I realised what I’d done,” Wallace said.

“Throughout the next few hours it got a lot more serious, and I started thinking about all the other people it was going to affect.

“[There] was a real sense of embarrassment.”

Team GB's Stephen Milne, Duncan Scott, Dan Wallace and James Guy

Following Wallace’s conviction in June, the British and Scottish swimming governing bodies imposed a three-month suspension from competition.

That ban has now ended, but he admits that as a sporting role model such a conviction is extremely damaging.

Wallace, who has lost his elite podium funding, regrets the impact his behaviour has had on others.

“There were a lot of people who heard about it that I wish hadn’t,” he said.

“My little sister is 12 years old and she had to hear about it, and I’ve got thousands of fans who are all young swimmers – it’s a real shame that they had to see my name in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

“That was the hardest thing for me, I obviously let down a lot of people.”

Dan Wallace’s achievements in the pool
2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow: 400m individual medley, gold; 200m individual medley, silver; 4x200m freestyle relay, silver
2015 World Championships, Kazan: 4x200m freestyle relay, gold
2016 Olympics, Rio: 4x200m freestyle relay, silver

In May 2014, Wallace was arrested in Florida – where he was attending the state university – for urinating on a police car. He admits that changes had to be made in his life, which he says was not up to the standards required for an Olympic athlete.

He appreciates the help provided by his sport and Team Scotland to try to get his life back on track.

“Team Scotland and Scottish Swimming have given me a lot of great help through this whole thing to make sure my performance and lifestyle are up to par – where I and where they want it to be,” Wallace said.

“There were certain areas last year where my lifestyle didn’t meet being a professional athlete, so there is no more room for error and the next season will be one to test that.”

Dan Wallace

The Scottish swim team for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast will be announced on 3 October and Wallace knows there are no guarantees he will be selected.

“I’m very anxious,” he admits. “It will be my second Commonwealth Games if selected and for me that’s just as exciting as the first one.

“I’ll be eagerly waiting for the team to be named officially and if I’m on it hopefully that will be a great time.

“It’s taken me to sink to a real low to realise what it is I want through swimming and through my life.

“It definitely spurs me on every day – it’s now part of my story and I just need to deal with that, use it to my advantage, and make a bit of a comeback.”

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BBC Sport – Swimming

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