Patrick Miley, Hannah’s Dad, 32 Yrs Flying Flown: Full-Time Coach, Eagle’s Spirit In Tow

Hannah Miley's experience and attitudes will be passed on to the next wave in Scotland - photo courtesy of British Gas at a time when the energy provider backed British Swimming - inset, Miley in action at Olympic trials - by Ian MacNicol

This month brought an emotional farewell to 32 years as a helicopter pilot for Patrick Miley, father and coach to Hannah Miley, the Commonwealth 400m medley champion for Scotland with World, European and British crowns to her credit and heading to a third Olympic Games in Rio. SwimVortex caught up with Team Miley for one of those long chats that are never long enough. Here’s the first part of time well spent

Want to read more? Our Basic subscription package, for just over €1 a
month (or €15.00 a year) allows you to access all articles barring
specific content we post from time to time for Premium and Business
members. Select which service best suits you. Thank you for your support
of independent journalism and quality coverage of world-class swimming.

Log In Register

This month brought an emotional farewell to 32 years as a helicopter pilot for Patrick Miley, father and coach to Hannah Miley, the Commonwealth 400m medley champion for Scotland with World, European and British crowns to her credit and heading to a third Olympic Games in Rio. SwimVortex caught up with Team Miley for one of those long chats that are never long enough. Here’s the first part of time well spent


clive rushton

Terrific observations and insights.


Time is running out for Hannah to win an Olympics medal and Rio might be her last chance. In terms competition, her chances in Rio are as good as hers in London:
Shiwen is replaced by Hosszu
Beisel is replaced by Belmonte and Dirado.

Nevertheless, best of luck to her!


I wouldn’t rule Beisel out. 4:35 at Canadian trials is a good marker and indicative of a return to form. June will tell us the full story.


In many ways, I agree with ASF re Miley. I just can’t help feeling that her best chances for an Olympic medal have passed but then again I’ve always been somewhat of a sceptic.

Whilst I deeply admire her determination and spirit, this is her only event where she has been a major international “factor” and there has always been that couple of others who’s claims have been that bit stronger. Who knows, the planets may just align for her in Rio.


I wouldn’t rule out Beisel either, but at this point, and i f she qualifies through US trials, I’d put her on equal third band with Miley and Overholt. First band is Hosszu, second band is Belmonte and Dirado.
At this point, here’s who I think will be in the final:
Hosszu, Dirado, Belmonte, Miley, Beisel (or second american), Overholt, Evans, Shimizu.

Either Takahashi or Wilmott can bump out one of those girls.

400 IM in London was FAST and super high quality swims by all finalists, and I hope Rio will be the same. I think broze will be won in 4:30. (routine disclaimer about Rio swimming attached: only if the semi outdoor pool with finals scheduled at 10 pm onwards do not get in the way of fast swimming))

Craig Lord

I think if one 27-year-old can be tipped for gold in a WR time, there should be no impediment to another doing something we’ve never seen before, eh, what, CW. Cheer up, it may yet happen.


I think Miley’s chance is increased if the race plays out slower and if medal can be won in 4:32, but it seems unlikely at this point.\

I’m intrigued to know if Blair Evans can drop more significant time. She was likened as the next Stephanie Rice in 2012, but several injuries. And now she has been training IM under coach Bud McAllister for one full year. She will do well if she break Rice’s Australian textile record.


It certainly may, Craig but I’ve just never been sold on Miley’s “quality” as opposed to her endeavour which is certainly unquestionable. But hey, I make absolutely zero claims of being infallible or all-knowing.

ASF, I would agree that would be the best scenario for Miley. With regards to Evans, it was unsure whether her strong suit was IM or freestyle in the 200/400 range. If she can drop to 4.34 or below in the heats in Rio then she should be thereabouts for the final but will she be sufficiently “switched in” to do so ?

Craig Lord

I think you drive a hard bargain on quality CW 🙂
gold silver bronze….
World Championships (LC) 0 1 1
World Championships (SC) 1 1 3
European Championships (LC) 1 0 2
European Championships (SC) 2 4 2
Commonwealth Games 2 0 1

There are a lot of swimmers lacking quality out there on that basis 🙂


Lets start by taking SC medals out of the equation; and her “top level” CV reads ONE individual medal from 2 Olympics and 5 LC Worlds. Whilst any medal at that level must be respected, that’s not a great “return on investment”.

You know my (very trenchant) views on CommGames and the relative merits of any medals won at those meets. Euros are certainly at least a step above but still a level below World level.

This doesn’t mean that I’m dissing Miley in any way, or engaging in Brit-bashing. I’ve just felt there’s always been those few ahead of her. Maybe things MAY go her way in Rio, I certainly wouldn’t begrudge any success that came her way.

Craig Lord

CW, whenever you write like that it sounds like you are indeed taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I think you’re too harsh on such things. Not everyone can be Mr Phelps! I think Hannah Miley is a world-class quality swimmer. I can’t see any reason for suggesting she’s not, regardless of whether she made or will make the Olympic podium. Those who do and are clean are truly outstanding beyond the outstanding.


Craig, I’ve never said that she is NOT a world class swimmer; her record of being a consistent finalist in world events makes that patently clear.

My question mark is whether she’s that next step up; that of being a title contender in the majors (which I define as Olympics and LC Worlds). She’s just never “sold me” and that one individual medal from 7 such meets isnt exactly conclusive proof.

Can we agree to respectfully differ ?

Craig Lord

Yes, CW, as long as you don’t use the word ‘quality’ and say it isn’t there in a swimmer with a list of medals that she’s earned. That makes no sense. Your description is off. Most swimmers never win an Olympic gold; most never make the Olympic podium, I don’t think those points are points we should differ on – and if we do, I’d say you’re wrong 🙂 Here’s a clean swimmer who I believe would have made the Olympic podium if all had been well on that score in at least one Olympic final she’s raced in.


OK, I can see where you are coming from and I certainly should have defined my argument more completely.

My observation of her has come to be that her prime asset is that of endurance rather than having any particular “weapon”. By this I’m referring to other competitors (including the bulk of those who’ve finished ahead of her) being legitimately outstanding in other events and more often in specific strokes.

Many have been, at worst, finalists at the top level in specific strokes; often medallist or even champions at this level. Miley is at best national finallist in other events and her times not of the level that would make finals in major competitions. Even in the shorter medley, she has never been at the forefront of the event.

Don’t get me wrong, endurance is a prime requisite for the 400IM and I deeply respect her dedication and spirit that has kept her “at it” for what has been an extended period. But is there that “weapon” or something extra that lifts her to that next level (of winning or regularly medalling at the very top level) ?

This is where my doubts are centred and a question that I have yet to find a really satisfactory answers. There is no personal animus towards her or any anti-Brit chauvinism. IF she medals in Rio then I’ll be more than happy to see it.

Craig Lord

No problems in you defining ‘weapons’, CW, just think we should be careful on two scores:
– not to hit quality folk over the head with poor use of words
– always note, if talking weapons of those who beat X, the weapons of the Y’s ahead, including swimmers who went into Olympic finals with no particular ‘weapons’ notable beyond those of others but emerged with Olympic medals; including swimmers who developed extraordinary weapons very late in long careers.
Swimming is a sport in which generations were told ‘you’re rubbish’, when in fact they should have been Olympic medallists and world record holders and more. Context and care are important, CW.


Fair points, I DO try to provide rationales for why I may hold X or Y opinions but I can agree that I did not originally provide one that was as defensible or fair as it could have been.

Craig Lord

No worries, CW. I am always conscious that the kids and coaches read the articles and sometimes the comments. Unintended hurt can hurt just as much – and by and large these are folk who work bloody hard for their achievements (mostly for a reward that goes little beyond what it means to themselves), best, C

Leave a comment

Post a comment with your SwimVortex Account. Don't have a SwimVortex Account, Sign Up?

(*) Fields are required!