Sunday, October 9, 2016

#WSW16 Celebrating Women in Sport – Hannah Miley

Launched in June 2015, Women’s Sport Week featured original and curated content across local and national media, supported by Government and the wider sport industry, as the nation looked ahead to an exciting summer for women’s sport.

Women’s Sport Week was designed and launched to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK. Focusing on media coverage, elite competition, grassroots participation and workforce, the week featured original and shared content across local and national media, supported by Government and the wider sport industry, as the nation looked ahead to an exciting summer for women’s sport.

This year Women’s Sport Week runs from 3rd to 9th October and each day we will be sharing a news story celebrating Scottish Swimming’s Women in Sport. Today we meet Hannah Miley, Commonwealth Champion, 3-time Olympian and one of Scotland’s finest.

How did you get involved in swimming?

I got involved in swimming when I was younger, my dad wanted me to be safe around water. I had other activities too (like Brownies, dancing, music lessons etc.) but found I was more coordinated in water and I enjoyed making friends at competitions.

What is your greatest achievement in swimming and what has made you most proud?

It’s hard for me to pick just one so I’m going to cheat a little and give you the ones that stand out for me and make me feel proud!

I won my first ever senior gold in 2010 at the European Champs in Budapest – it was the first time I stood on the podium and sang the national anthem.

Winning the silver medal at the World championships Shanghai 2011 – it was the first time I had won a medal on the world stage!

Defending my Commonwealth Games title in 2014 - it was special because it was in Glasgow with the home crowd support and also only 2 other Scottish women have successfully defended their title at a Commonwealth Games before (Helen McKay and Liz McColgan).

Coming 4th at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio - it was tough to just miss out on a medal but to have raced 3 events at the last 3 Olympics and to have improved on both placing and time it was a proud moment for me. As much as i would have loved to have won a medal I realised that sometimes success doesn’t have to result in medals, it’s what makes you proud of your achievements it’s about the journey.

How important are female sporting role models in encouraging girls to participate?

I think it is really important to have female sporting role models, every girl can relate to their model in some way whether it’s through their physical attributes, mental determination, personality. A role model shows that every girl has the potential to be the best they can be at whatever it is that makes them the happiest. The more role models we have we can hopefully inspire and encourage more girls to take part and stay in sport. 

What stops girls participating in swimming and other aquatic disciplines – Is there anything we can do to overcome these barriers?

There can be a few reasons, one could be body image. Girls can feel very self-conscious wearing just a swim suit, to overcome this I think more pictures of girls both elite and those who like to swim for leisure should be shown. If you can show a girl someone who feels comfortable with their body image it might help relieve fears. Also holding girls only classes, when it’s a group of girls together we feel more empowered and comfortable with each other plus no fears of having any boys around to stare. Another reason could be balancing school work with training, i think showing educational classes of previous elite swimmers and how the managed to combine training and studies together might prove helpful for girls who might feel like they struggle to balance workload

What transferable skills can girls gain from swimming, and what are the wider benefits of these?

I think you can gain many skills from swimming. Organisation - being able to organise your training bag, getting yourself up for training, managing homework. The benefits of this will help you time manage better and be able to plan be a reliable individual. Communication - being able to discuss feedback with your coach, taking and receiving criticism to improve yourself in sport, making friends. This will help will help in the working world in building relationships with clients or managing work with colleagues in providing feedback, criticism and communicating effectively. Nutrition - the awareness of a balanced diet and healthy choices provides energy to train and race. This will help benefit in the long term in being aware of food choices that can help keep you healthy and feeling good as well.

Who is your female sporting hero and why?

Misty Hyman - I love watching her racing from the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It was one of the biggest upsets from the Olympic Games. I was instantly drawn to her when I first saw her reaction at the start of the race. During the race line up when each athlete was being introduced she was the only one who smiled, she looked so happy being there and not nervous and she looked like she genuinely enjoyed being there too. I instantly wanted to be like that. To be able to work at something but know that I do enjoy it and I can portray that I enjoy it too. Once the race was over she was a very humble athlete and even now I follow her on twitter and Facebook keeping up to date with what she is doing. She wants to pass on her story and help young and aspiring swimmers to be the best they can be. It’s something that I would love to do too. It would be my dream to one day to actually meet her!!

What are your ambitions for the future?

My ambitions for my future are to keep swimming for as long as i still enjoy training and racing. To be able to pass on my story through clinics or master classes and help show that you don’t need to be a physically big athlete to be good at sport, you just need the heart and determination and show that each athlete is in control of that. I would like to guide and show that they can reach their potential. I would also love to work with animals too, I have a huge passion for helping out and caring for them so I’d like to one day help out at a rescue centre or go on a trip abroad and work hands on helping animals.