FIVE Garioch swimmers left the snow and ice of Inverurie for the warmer climes of Barcelona for three days in late January to compete in the Catalonian Open.
The team were led by Hannah Miley who, as well as swimming, had overall responsibility for the squad in what was a great experience for all the swimmers. There were some very strong and successful performances demonstrating the ability of the home-grown talent to compete at the highest levels internationally.
Hannah Miley showed what a great all-round, world-class swimmer she has become as she took gold in her two trademark Individual Medley events, but also achieving an amazing six silvers and three bronze medals.
Brother Alastair Miley swam brilliantly to record a bronze in the 200m backstroke securing his first international medal in only his second meet. Orla Adams, Jessica Thomson and Shannon Crawford also put in powerful performances in what were very fast races against top class competition.
Alastair, who set a Personal Best time in the heats, commented, “I have competed in Barcelona previously but have never been anywhere near a podium finish. After my race I was completely breathless and looking up at the scoreboard and seeing my time at first I was quite harsh on myself thinking, ‘for goodness sake I went faster in the heat!’, but then looking at my final position I quickly lost that and thought, ‘Yes! I got a medal!’. Honestly, I couldn’t have been a happier with myself.”
Asked how he coped as the only boy amongst four girls Alastair said, “They were fine, and I always had my headphones handy if they started nagging me!”
Orla Adams said, “It was a good fast meet and great experience making friends with some London and Spanish swimmers. Translation was tricky at times as everything including the starting announcements were in Spanish.
“The homeward journey wasn’t much fun as our flights had to be re-arranged last minute because of weather problems in Schipol cancelling our flight and we were re-scheduled to Heathrow. It ended up being a 15 hour trip home and fairly exhausting given the 3am wake up call.”
Hannah added, “For me it was successful in and out of the water and having to mentor the younger swimmers was a new experience. I’m kind of used to travelling on my own and its definitely less stressful but it made me realise how hard it is for coaches taking age group swimmers away and it’s such a big responsibility - but it was also a lot of fun.”