North-east swimming legend visits school

Inspiration: The children from Barthol Chapel School gave Hannah an enthusiastic welcome. Picture: Susann Brown
Inspiration: The children from Barthol Chapel School gave Hannah an enthusiastic welcome. Picture: Susann Brown

Pupils at Barthol Chapel School were truly inspired by visiting swimming legend and Olympic hopeful, Hannah Miley.

Having doubly qualified for the London 2012 Olympics after clocking the fastest times in the world this year, the diminutive ace explained how she successfully competed against taller and stronger swimmers.

The youngsters had spent many weeks preparing for Hannah’s visit and gave a rendition of her favourite song. They also made a wall display, and the youngsters asked a variety of questions, finishing with a presentation of a ‘goody bag’ which included her favourite energy food and also a lucky mascot, which she said she would take to the Olympics with her this summer.

Hannah told of her training lifestyle and her travels and the pupils, some of whom swim at her local club in Inverurie, were visibly inspired.

Hannah explained how her breast stroke had been her weakest. She said: “In an interview in 2006 I said I wasn’t very good and even though others were better than me I kept going. Even if you are not good at something, you can work hard at it so never give up. I didn’t and now breast stroke is my strongest.”

Hard work, dedication and a punishing 36 hours per week training schedule are what give Hannah the edge. She told the pupils that as well as spending five hours in the pool each day, she spends several hours land training with workouts in the gym, rock climbing and boxing and pilates. The children were positively awestruck after she revealed that her longest swim had been 400 lengths. The pupils quickly worked out that this was 10,000m in a 25m pool.

The star who started swimming at three and made her competition debut at five years old, now is promoting swimming through Kellogs breakfast cerials. She encouraged the pupils to get their free swim. She said: “It’s a good life skill even if you don’t want to compete.

At the end of the visit Head Teacher, Katie Budge said: It’s been fabulous. The children have been ecstatic about it. We have been working on Olympic values and Hannah is such a wonderful role model.”