Nicole Yeargin on the key goal of breaking the Scottish national 400m record

TWITTER is rarely the place for a nuanced statement, which is why Nicole Yeargin recently felt the need to add a second explanatory tweet following the reaction she received to the first.

“Scottish National Record: 50.71,” she innocently writes. Congratulations, likes and retweets quickly followed, forcing the Maryland-born 400m athlete to clarify what she meant.

‘I haven’t broken it yet, I’m just saying what it is lol,’ she explained, just in case Scottish athletics officials snuck up on her metaphorical door asking what’s going on. happened.

It was telling that the 24-year-old used the word ‘again’ in her clarification, as breaking a record that has stood since she was just one year old has become one of her main goals for this season. .

A graduate of the University of Southern California last year, Yeargin – whose mother is from Dunfermline – has moved to Texas where she now devotes herself full-time to athletics.

Hers enjoyed a dramatic rise, her times earning her a spot on the Olympic squad for Team Britain last year where she picked up a rare disqualification in the 400m and was part of two relay teams that finished outside the medals.

Still, Yeargin is undeterred ahead of what could be another pivotal year for her. It’s a busy summer for athletics with the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships and the former Kent State student aims to compete in all three. Given his heritage, the ability to run in a Scottish vest is particularly appealing.

“I feel like I’ve been running really well since I moved from Los Angeles to Texas,” she said. “I’ve done so much volume that’s different from what I’ve done in the past.

“I’m in peaks pretty much every day, working out and feeling great. I’m definitely aiming for the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Championships – I’ll try to do them all.

“I’m on GB funding now, so I speak with them quite regularly. We just had a relay meeting a few weeks ago, so I’m still in the know.

“I’m confirmed for Birmingham, definitely, it’s in the sights. It will be nice to race for Scotland instead of Great Britain. I wonder what the vests look like this year?!

“I’ve been told that because it’s set in the UK there will be a lot of Scots watching there, so that’s pretty cool.”

Yeargin knew what the Scottish 400m record was, but not when it was set. It is owned by Allison Curbishley who set the milestone in 1998 at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. It would be a nice twist if Yeargin could go under that time at the same competition but, ambitious as always, she hopes it could fall even before that.

“Didn’t want to confuse people with the tweet on the record!” She adds. “I was putting it out there saying what it was with a thinking emoji to say that’s what I want to do.

“And people were congratulating me and I was like, ‘oh my God. I just started something I didn’t want to start! I guess that’s what can happen on social media, so I had to post a double tweet to explain.

“Oh, the record was set at the Commonwealth Games? Not at all! It’s good to know. It would be great to beat him in Birmingham, which is my next 400m [at the Diamond League event on May 21] but if not, it would be great to get the record before the world championships or the commonwealths.

“I ran 51.3 a few weeks ago so I’m back on top. It’s been a crazy journey so far the last few years and I can look back and see that I’ve improved my times with every track encounter.

“When I ran 51.3 it was in windy conditions and I had run 4x100m not long before. So I know that I can run faster again because I am improving year after year.

Any disappointment with how Tokyo turned out for her was quickly washed away on a three-week trip to visit her grandmother in Dunfermline on her way back to the United States. It was the perfect pick-me-up and also allowed Yeargin to delve into the Scottish delights she remembers from her regular childhood trips across the Atlantic.

“I was just chilling, it was great,” she recalled. “My grandma has two retired guide dogs, so I was just hanging out with the dogs, visiting my uncle, going to the ladies’ lunches and stuff like that.

“I had been traveling all summer so that was all I wanted to do. My mom came over from the US last week which was good.

“My grandmother fed me well. Very good! I had to eat bacon butts twice a day, every day! We had to go to the store to get more because I was eating it so fast. I love Scottish bacon – you can’t get that in the US. But maybe that’s a good thing.