Hannah Miley had to wait until the final day of competition in the pool to win Team Scotland’s second Commonwealth Games gold medal of the Games in her favoured event, the 400m individual medley. In the same session Michael Jamieson also claimed a silver in the men’s 200m breaststroke.
While 21-year old Miley cut a delighted figure, and said she was looking forward to reviewing her winning swim, Jamieson, whose powerful final 50m was almost enough for him to snatch gold, managed a wry smile as he admitted: “I’m not sure I want to watch the video, to be honest!”
For 21-year old Miley the Commonwealth crown caps her best year, which also saw her win the European 400m individual medley title. “The time wasn’t quite what I expected but it was all about the race,” she said. “I was really chuffed with the race, especially that last 100m.”
In lane five, Miley was seventh after the first length of butterfly, gaining a place after 100m, before making serious inroads as she switched to backstroke. At 150m she was up to fourth, moving up to first as she began her strongest stroke, the breaststroke. It was here that she pulled ahead, opening up a body length’s lead on Australia’s Samantha Hamill.
And although Hamill began to close on the final freestyle leg, Miley held on for gold.
“To win the Europeans on day one and to finally win the Commonwealths on day six, I can’t ask for any more,” Miley said. “There are things I know I need to improve on, but it’s really good to have the Commonwealth gold in the bag and move on, so I can get a bit more experienced and better.”
Miley said that she had been oblivious to her position relative to her opponents during the first leg. “I can’t really see anything on either side,” she explained. “I can see a little splash but whether it’s my own splash or the people next to me, I don’t really know.
“It’s on the backstroke I can see their arms. But I don’t panic. The way I swim, it is kind of tactical. I’m not as big as some of these girls so I can’t cane it in the first 100.”
Miley did admit that she was aware of her opponent closing the gap in the closing stages. “[Hamill] scared the life out of me in that last fifty,” she said, “but that’s kind of what I needed to spur me on on that last fifty and push through that barrier. I’ve worked really, really hard on pushing hard, and not slowing down. It was definitely a great race and I can’t wait to watch it back and see what things I need to work on.”
It is an indication of the progress made this week by Jamieson, meanwhile, that he could admit to being disappointed with a personal best and a silver medal. “I’m disappointed at the moment,” he said. “With it being so close at the end, obviously I wanted to win.
“I thought I spotted my finish perfectly there at the end, though I think I might have been a fraction off. I’m not sure I want to watch the video of it, to be honest!
“But it’s a small PB, and my first major medal, and I’m sure when it sinks in I’ll be delighted with it. I knew I was capable of getting in around the medals here, but, with it being so close in the end, it’s natural to be a bit disappointed I think.”
Miley was back in action for the women’s 4x100m medley relay, joining Kathryn Johnstone, Louise Pate and Caitlin McClatchey as they swam to fifth place in a final won by defending champions Australia.
And a young men’s team also managed fifth in the 4x100m medley, with Jamieson, Craig McNally, Andy Mayor and Andy Hunter going close to the Scottish record set in Melbourne. For Hunter it was a performance that bodes well for Glasgow in 2014. “We were up against some real good quality teams tonight,” said Hunter.
“We’re a young, up and coming team,” he continued, “and it was a good effort. We gave it our best, and we were just off the Scottish record. With Glasgow just round the corner, we’ve had a lot of good performances from the younger swimmers in this meet. Hopefully they can build on that in the next four years.
“It really does feel that Glasgow’s just round the corner,” he added. “At the end of Melbourne I couldn’t believe Delhi was a whole four years away. But it’s flown by and I’m pretty sure the next four will go just as quickly.”