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Miley taking the smart approach to life back in the pool following surgery

by ZwemZa on May 11th, 2019

Miley has seven World medals, 14 European medals and four Commonwealth Games medals (Getty Images)

At 29, Hannah Miley is reinventing herself.

Miley has been the darling of Scottish swimming for the best part of a decade, bursting onto the scene at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and going on to scoop more than 50 competitive medals.

But after a year in which her funding was cut by British Swimming and she underwent serious ankle surgery, the Aberdeen star has responded by totally overhauling her training techniques.

A heavy trainer who spends more time in the pool than most, Miley has scaled back her workload in search of a sweet spot, acknowledging the cost of ten years at the summit of a brutal sport.

“Surgery is tough but it’s allowed me to train a bit differently and opened my eyes to different things,” said Miley.

“I’m getting older and things to do take a little bit longer to heal up and recover. I have to be a little bit smarter with my training.

“I tend to be a bit different in how I prepare and recently I’ve really had to knuckle down on my mental approach.

“I’m renowned for doing quite a lot of mileage and attempting a lot back-to-back.

“I’ve had to cut that back as much as I can and start saying ‘I’m going to give 100 per cent in this session, walk away and allow myself to recover to go again later on.

“It’s basically just making things more specific, trying to make my muscles more robust and still getting the work done in the pool.”

That Miley bagged 400m medley bronze at the British Championships last month, just five months on from going under the knife, was a tribute to her willingness to adapt.

While the three-time Olympian couldn’t go in the water for weeks on end with stitches still in her ankle, she took to dipping the top half of her body in the pool to retain the sense of swimming.

The Scot, who learnt her trade at Inverurie Swimming Centre, got her fair share of puzzled looks from fellow swimmers but credits the idea with hastening her recovery.

“If you spend time out of the pool, you lose your feel so quickly,” she explained.

“People looked at me wondering what on earth I was doing! But it kept the feel, kept my movement patterns going. When I jumped back in, it didn’t feel I’d lost much.

“I had no idea whether it would work or not, but it seems to have paid off and I don’t feel like I’m behind time at all in my rehab.”

Miley still has plenty left to achieve, not least in her role as a home hero at the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships, set for Glasgow’s Tollcross from 4 to 8 December this year.

And yet for so many, her Olympic returns of sixth, fifth and fourth in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games remain abiding memories of her career.

“For me, in sport there’s more to life than winning medals,” said Miley.

“Rio taught me a lot in that. Olympic gold always been my dream – it may happen, it may not but I’m not going to base my career on whether I did or didn’t achieve it.

“There are things I’ve done in my career I’m so proud of and still excited for.

“Whatever there is left, I’m excited to see where it takes me.

“For some people having the false expectation of an Olympic Games works.

“I want to try a different perspective, for years I knew where I wanted to go and expected that. I want people to know I’m still working hard and giving it my all.”


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