London Spy

British medal hopes: Hannah Miley (swimming)

London Spy

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Miley competing at the 2012 British Championships

Hannah Miley is not an average Olympian. She does not train with the rest of the British swimming team in elite development centres such as Loughborough, but instead prefers her own company at a small swimming club in Inverurie, Scotland.

Her progress is not monitored by high-tech timing devices, but by a small handheld contraption invented by her father, who is also her coach and has worked with some of the leading names in the sport (such as Australian great Ian Thorpe) when he isn't working as a helicopter pilot.

Moreover, Miley's training regime is not just restricted to the pool. She swims 80 kilometres per week, but rock climbing is a passion and she also uses therapeutic techniques to get the best out of her body.

Miley may not follow the blueprint for top-level sporting success, but her unorthodox approach has paid dividends so far.

She first made a name for herself in her strongest event, the 400m individual medley, by winning gold at the British Championships in 2006 and then translated that success onto the international stage by winning short-course world silver in 2008 and then European short-course gold in 2009.

Miley had less success at the Beijing Olympics, finishing sixth in the 400m individual medley, but she continued her podium streak by winning the Commonwealth and European titles in 2010 before taking silver at the World Championships last year.

Miley will turn 23 on August 8, during the Olympics, and a gold medal would be the perfect birthday present for this driven individual.

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