Bob McGregor’s prowess in the pool should have come as no surprise – his father, David, was an Olympic water polo player – but like many of Scotland’s leading swimmers he trained in a 25-metre pool.
Olympic selectors were stunned when they arrived to watch him before the 1964 Games and found the ‘Falkirk Flyer’ training in a short-course pool in his home town. But Bob was making good use of the facility and was already an experienced swimmer, becoming Scottish junior champion in 1960 at the age of 16.
He had also successfully competed for Scotland, beating swimmers from Ireland and Wales in the Tenovus Cup at the Empire Pool in Cardiff, and won silver at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in the 100m freestyle event where, two years later, he set a new world record of 53.6secs.
As swim team captain at the Tokyo Games in 1964, he won the silver in the 100m freestyle and took another silver in the same event at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. That was quickly followed by a European Championships gold medal, then a new world record of 53.3secs in the 100m at the British Championships.
He retired from competitive swimming after the 1968 Olympics and was awarded the MBE the same year. He later worked as an architect in Glasgow.
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