Hello! While Debs is on holiday, she has asked me to take over her blog, and answer some questions.
Debbie and I have known each other for nearly 20 years – we competed against each other all the time. (edit by Deb: she is a year younger than me so any North District record I had, I got to keep for 1 whole year…*sighs*)
(us on Christmas Eve last year!)
For those who don’t know me, I have just qualified for my 3rd Olympics for swimming. My specialty is the 400IM (100m of butterfly/backstroke/breaststroke/freestyle) (although I am also the Commonwealth record holder for the 200IM in a short course pool), where I hope to win a medal in Rio!
1. What is your greatest sporting memory?
My greatest sporting memory would be watching Michael Phelps achieve his goal of 8 Olympic golds!
2. Favourite place you have trained/competed?
I love training in Tenerife, the weather is awesome and the centre is fantastic! I love competing at the London Aquatic Centre; it’s an incredible facility and you do swim very fast there!
3. Give me a day in the life of Smiley Miley!?
My alarm goes off at 4:45 every morning, I get up and grab some breakfast (some days I run to the pool depends on the weather). My swim session is 2hrs 30 min starting at 6am. After training I follow it up with a second breakfast. Once stomach is full and refuelled I head for a 40min power nap, after that there is usually some domestic work like walking the dogs helping around the house with hovering or cooking lunch and dinner. Post lunch I head to the pool (sometimes it’s in Aberdeen other times it can be in Inverurie), where I have another 2hr 30min swim session. Once the session is done I have a gym workout to do which lasts around 1hr 30. Then it’s time to drive home and get dinner on and be in bed before 9pm. I train up to 40 hours per week, each day is slightly different and varies in training location and gym work.
4.What is your diet like?
My diet is pretty strict whilst I am in heavy training – I burn up to 5,000 calories a day so I need to make sure the fuel I put in my body is clean and allows me to train better and faster. I try and make sure that all “treat foods” (i.e. chocolate, crisps and sweets) are kept to a minimum. All carb based foods are through fresh fruit and veg and wholemeal pasta and rice, couscous and quinoa. I try and cook everything from scratch and not use jar sauces.
5.How do you find time for a social life?
I do struggle to find have time for a good social life but my team mates at my club and when I go away on GB camps and competitions to me is quite social. A meal out or a wee bowling trip keeps me entertained. I’m usually so busy anyway to be able to have time to miss it all!
6.Do you ever get time off?
I get Saturdays off during the week so I catch up some much needed sleep, then I get 2 weeks off over the summer post the main competition for the year.
7. What are your main goals this year?
My main goal at the start of the season was to qualify for the Olympics (check!), and now it is to final in my main event in Rio (400IM) – a bonus goal would be to medal at the Games!
8. Pre-race superstitions?
I hate seeing 1 magpie if I’m heading to a competition – I usually have to either bow or say “Good morning, Mr Magpie!”…this tends to get odd looks! Swimmers are usually pretty superstitious people at the best of times!
9. What are your future goals?
My main goal for the future would be to be happy. If I’m still involved in swimming I want to make a difference and help share my story in the hope that it would encourage and motivate people to make choices that will lead to great opportunities for them.
10. Any pieces of advice you would give young athletes?
1st- listen to your coach, even though they may shout at you and give you tough gruelling training sets they are the people are getting you to make a choice. Work hard or give up. The more times you listen to your coach and work hard, the better the hardworking habits you engrain into yourself which stands you in good stead for your future. How often do we say thank you to our coaches!
2nd- become a student of your sport, we have so much info at the tips of our fingers now. Phones, tablets, and computers the access to the Internet is endless. We can learn a lot about our sport through videos, live streaming of events or following coaches who post training sets on their twitter feeds. What does it take to be the best in your sport, we have the power to find out every possible to way and what our competitors do too.
11. Favourite training/racing kit?
I love my fins and my new Arena mesh training paddles.
12. What makes you love swimming?
I don’t think I can pinpoint the exact reason why I love swimming, it’s been part of me for so long that it has been a way I can express myself as a person. I enjoy working hard, I enjoy meeting new people and rising to challenges in races. If I didn’t have swimming, I would feel a big hole in me that I would struggle to fill! I love swimming because it completes me. Maybe I was a fish or a mermaid in a former life?! 🙂
13. Most memorable swimming moment
My most memorable swimming moment has to be when my goggles broke when I was 6… it was before a little competition in Inverurie and the strap of my goggles just pinged. It took me by surprise and I slowly realized my goggles were broken. Before I had time to burst into tears, at least 20 pairs were thrown at me all at once! I was covered!! After that I made sure I always brought spare cap and goggles with me whenever I go to race.
14. Who/what inspires and motivates you?
My swimming hero is Misty Hyman, she inspired me a lot. Her race the 200fly in Sydney Olympics 2000 I think is still on YouTube. It’s an awesome race and one that inspired me. Before the race even starts Misty is the only one with a big beaming smile on her face, she looks happy and confident. From then that was what I wanted to be like! I wanted to be that happy doing something no matter how big the pressure – I do it because I love it.
My dad is also a huge inspiration to me as well, he was the one who taught me how to swim and he still coaches me to this day. Without him guiding me and coaching me, he’s taught me to be a better person and an independent person.
15. What is on your bucket list?
I love to go and visit and either swim (if possible) in all the Olympic swimming pools that hosted the Olympics!
16. Finally, do you miss the swimming world when Debbie was in it?!
The swimming world was a very quiet place when Debbie left, I miss having a friend to chat to and laugh with before races… It’s never been the same since! 😉
Wow, thanks Hannah! She is so inspiring 🙂
Although, can we talk about how her most MEMORABLE moment is when she was 6?!?! Helloooo – you have a bunch of Commonwealth gold medals at home, Miley! 😉
If any of you have any questions I would be happy to pass them on! I hope everyone wishes her the BEST of luck this summer! xx