Swimming: Miley adds to medley of medal hopes

 

London Aquatics Centre

For the second time in four nights Hannah Miley stood on top of a podium in the venue for July's Olympics and, after she produced the fastest swim of the year in the 200 metres individual medley, it only added weight to the burgeoning expectation that the 22-year-old Scot will be back there come Games time.

The 400m IM is Miley's main event but she will now also compete over the shorter distance after winning last night's British trial in compelling style. It was the sixth successive time she had won the British title – the event doubles as the national championships – but it is not perennial domination of her compatriots that has impressed, rather her improvement at each major meet in which she competes.

Miley swam at the Beijing Games four years ago aged 18 and finished sixth in the 400m and 11th in the 200m. By the World Championships in Shanghai last year she had raised that to a 400m silver – beating the Olympic champion Stephanie Rice on the touch – and seventh in the 200m. Her 200m time last night of 2min 10.77sec was quicker than anything she managed last year. Sophie Allen, a 19-year-old from Stockport Metro, followed Miley home, setting a personal best to earn a place in her first Olympics.

Miley still trains in a four-lane 25m pool in her hometown of Inverurie, where she is coached by her father, Patrick, who juggles guiding his daughter's career with his job as a helicopter pilot flying out to North Sea oil rigs. A few miles to the north-west of Aberdeen, Inverurie is proving an improbable hothouse for British swimming.

Rebecca Turner spent some time there over the winter. It was, she said, good to see how a world silver medallist does things. Whatever she learnt she put to good effect last night as she surprised herself to win the 200m freestyle.

Turner turned into the final length in fourth but flew down it more than a second quicker than Caitlin McClatchey, who is seven years her senior, and in the end won with a relative degree of comfort, 0.42sec ahead of McClatchey, who finished sixth at the last Olympics.

It came as a shock to her, but not to Russ Barber, her coach in Sheffield. When she was 14, Barber handed Turner a list of times he expected her to achieve over the next few years. She did not share Barber's confidence she would be at the London Games.

"It was very unexpected," said Turner. "I only came into this trying to get a relay spot, to get an individual one is pretty amazing."

The unfortunate McClatchey came in second but finished 0.24sec outside the qualifying time. She will have a last chance to qualify at the ASA Championships in June. The night's other Olympic qualifiers were Joe Roebuck and Roberto Pavoni in the 200m fly.

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