Rising star is local hero

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UP-AND-COMING swimming star, Orla Adams has received a major boost to promote her career.

The athlete who says she is “really mad about swimming” and trains regularly with swimming ace Hannah Miley, has been selected to receive a Bank of Scotland Local Heroes award which gives her a cash boost of £1,000 as well as expert tuition from three-time Olympic silver medallist Katherine Grainger and others.

Orla, who can’t imagine life without swimming said: “I really like competing because of the atmosphere. In the finals you hear everyone cheering. When you’re in a race you can hear the excited voice of the commentator and it makes you go faster.”

Hard work and dedication are no stranger to the 16-year-old who has been swimming since she was very small. “I have been swimming since I was little, then I joined a swimming club in South Wold. Three years ago we came to Inverurie and I joined Garioch Swimming Club. At that time I didn’t realise I’d be swimming alongside a swimming super star”

With an early morning start, Orla trains at the pool for upward of 18 hours each week. To maintain peak fitness she also has land training as well as strengthening and conditioning sessions at Aberdeen Sports Village and not one to waste an opportunity, she runs from home to the pool each weekday morning.

Her spare time is sparse and has to be put to good use: “On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays I have training straight after school then for the rest of the evening I revise and relax. On Thursdays training starts at 6.30pm so I fit in about 20 minutes of revision before training. On Saturdays I have a day off so I revise and relax and take Kasper, our dog, for a walk.”

Having Ms Miley as a mentor is inspirational: “I train with Hannah most mornings and after school. “I like training with her - if I’m in the wrong attitude she’ll help me through it. She’s very good in helping me improve technique and speed. I also train with her brothers – they are two funny boys.”

Coached by Hannah’s father Patrick, she added: “Patrick Miley is an amazing coach. I’m so glad I have him because he is different to other coaches. He used to swim when he was young and he would do swimming sets in a different way to other coaches. He has a lot of experience in coaching Hannah and her brothers. He takes risks and looks at each swimmer in the performance squad to address their individual needs.”

Speaking of the award, Orla’s mother Eavan said: “The Bank of Scotland Local Hero award came in the post out of the blue. Orla is a member of Grampian Institute of Sport (GIS) at gold level. GIS emailed information and sent a form for Sports Aid but we didn’t know Sports Aid was sponsored by companies like ASDA and BOS who give awards to rising stars.

We went down to Glasgow last week to pick up the award. Orla met past Olympians who provided a huge amount of help and support - parents got to speak to Olympians’ parents and there were workshops for parents and swimmers. It was a two-day, all expenses paid workshop and there was all sorts of advice on financial matters, social media and they spoke about the Olympic Torch.”

Speaking of her ambitions, Orla, who would like to study Sports Science at RGU said:

“My goal is to be in the top ten at the ASA UK Nationals in the summer. I want to be at the top and first I’d like to get to the semi-finals, then the finals of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, especially as it’s on our home turf, and then try and aim for Gold in the 2016 Olympics.

Orla, is currently competing in the Scottish National Age Groups (SNAGS) in Glasgow.

Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 82 emerging Scottish athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Scotland’s future stars of TeamGB and Paralympics GB can be followed at www.bankofscotland.coluk/localheroes.