One of the stars of the British National Team, Hannah Miley, is looking to significantly beef-up her schedule in 2013 after swimming three races at last year’s Olympics: the 200 IM (7th place), the 400 IM (5th place), and the 800 free relay (5th place).
Specifically, she’s added the 200 free and the 200 fly to her schedule to their National Championship meet that comes at the end of June.
That will bring her race total up to 6 tries: the 200 IM and 400 IM, the 200 breast, and the 400 free (all of which she swam at last year’s Trials), plus the 200 fly and the 200 free (which she didn’t).
This is an interesting decision as things appear to be considerably deeper in her primary events within the British ranks than they were last year.
In the 200 IM, she’s still probably the favorite, but with Sophie Allen having an outstanding short course season this winter, the young Sophie Smith and Aimee Wilmott both entering the primes of their careers, and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor having already been 2:10.53 this year (better than Miley was last year), and it’s far from an assured victory in that shorter race. Add to that group 17-year old upstart Danielle Lowe, who has already knocked off two seconds from her best since the completion of last year’s trials to sit at a 2:13.6 early this year.
Miley will have significantly less competition in the 400 IM; though perhaps a rested Wilmott could give her a go for the national title, both should be safely into Worlds (unless open water qualifier Keri-Anne Payne puts a serious charge into this pool race, which is unlikely.)
At last year’s trials, she was only 12th in the 400 free, and earned a spot on the 800 free relay without having to formally trial in the event (based on her split at the Olympics, this was a solid decision). This year’s selection criteria force a top four finish in the 200 free to be selected for a relay.
She was also 3rd in the 200 breaststroke, but was two full seconds away from qualifying. The only real reason to keep either the 400 free or the 200 breaststroke on her schedule (like the Americans, the Brits have a condensed 5-day, prelims-finals trials schedule) is because they come on the final day, after her most serious races are over, so at worst they’re a training opportunity.
Her addition to the 200 fly field really makes that event even more interesting than it already was after Ellen Gandy’s defection. As we pointed out earlier this week, Sophie Allen has picked up that 200 fly already, but Miley becomes perhaps a bit of a surprise contender in the race for the 2nd spot behind Jemma Lowe. She’s been as fast as 2:08.2 in polyurethane, and was 2:10.24 in 2010 (after which time her efforts in the race tapered off for a time.)