Berwickshire’s Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Daniel Wallace has explained how he ditched his rock and roll lifestyle to concentrate on his swimming.
The 21-year-old’s victory in the 400m individual medley was a moment of redemption for the University of Florida student, who feared at one point this year that he would be axed from Team Scotland after he was arrested in the US for urinating on a police car and suspended by his American swim team.
The cheers which greeted his triumph in Glasgow were music to Wallace’s ears, but the former Chirnside Primary School pupil admitted he would never have reached his moment of glory had he continued on with his rock and roll lifestyle.
“I was very close to not making the team,” he said after clinching gold. “I got to the point in my life where I had re-evaluate which path I wanted to take and I chose the right one and it ended with a gold medal for me and the whole of Scotland, so I am very happy.
“(Being arrested) was a wake up call. I was living the life of a rock star but still trying to perform in the pool.
“You can’t do both. It is all about moderation and I have learned from my experiences and it has paid off now. I was a student, I was away from my parents, I had a lot of freedom but I have learned to deal with that and channel it the right way.
“Hopefully this is what I will be remembered by.
“It was kind of a wake-up call. I think I responded really well to that and definitely turned my life around. I’m a professional athlete and everything you have to do is in moderation and it’s paid off. There’s no looking back from here. I’m going to celebrate with a cup of tea and give my parents a few hugs.”
Wallace knew his moment of madness threatened to undermine three years of financial sacrifice made by his family, who had the family home in East Lothian and moved to Florida in order to support his burgeoning career in sport.
When he celebrated his gold medal success with his parents and other members of his family immediately after the race, he was thanking them for their understanding as well as inviting them to join in his moment of triumph.
“That just makes it all worth it, seeing almost my whole family at the end of the presentation,” he added. “My mum was in tears, my sister wouldn’t stop hugging me – that’s why I’m doing it. I’m doing it for them. They get as much satisfaction as I do and it’s just a phenomenal feeling. It was a big commitment moving to Florida and we had a lot of changes.”
A former Chirnside Primary School pupil, Wallace was coached by Duns Amateur Swimming Club coach Joyce Waddell when his family lived in Berwickshire.
He competed for Duns ASC for six years before his family moved to North Berwick and the travelling became too much. But he continued to renew his membership and retained a strong connection with Duns ASC for many years.