HANNAH Miley suffered defeat in her specialist event last night as she was eclipsed by Siobhan-Marie O’Connor in the 200 metres individual medley at the British Gas International Swim Meet 2013 in Leeds.
Miley has dominated both individual medley events domestically in recent years, although O’Connor had consistently shone, taking two individual European junior crowns in 2011 and competing at the Olympics and World Championships by the age of 16.
However, the Bath ITC swimmer last night moved from threat to usurper as she led from start to finish to win in 2mins 10.53secs – an English record time and 1.06secs ahead of Miley with Bath team-mate Sophie Allen in third.
Miley was pleased with her efforts which saw her finish third later in the session in the 800m freestyle, insisting the focus is on the World Championships in Barcelona.
Any rivalry between O’Connor and Miley is friendly, the Scot saying: “It’s nice. It means we are getting that depth, we are doing something right.”
Although little can be read into the world rankings at this time, given it is only March and major competition has yet to be held, it is notable O’Connor’s time is second only to Ye Shiwen, the contentious double Olympic champion.
Adding further lustre to her performance is the fact the 17-year-old only returned from a three-week altitude training camp at 11pm on Wednesday night, but took 0.74secs off her best, beyond her target of going under 2mins 11secs.
O’Connor, now the second fastest ever Briton behind Miley, has a poise beyond her years and she said: “I am really pleased. I’ve been training quite well. At first the altitude camp was really hard but I really felt the benefits when I came back down to sea level. It’s good to just post a good time and gives me a boost of confidence for the rest of the year.”
While for O’Connor there is promise of a highly-successful career, there was an emotional return to form for Jaz Carlin as she dominated an 800m freestyle now shorn of Rebecca Adlington to set a new personal best at the Sir John Charles Centre for Sport.
Carlin has been stricken with illness over the past two years culminating in her missing out on the Olympics. Last night she dominated the 800m freestyle to win in a new best of 8:24.42 ahead of Ellie Faulkner prompting a charge around poolside to embrace coach Bud McAllister, the American who once described her as “pitbull, rottweiler, whatever” such is her tenacity.
However, that has been sorely tested in recent times and she said: “It was so hard last year, it was one of the toughest things I have ever had to go through.
“When you put so much time and effort into supporting something you love doing, when you get the disappointments it’s hard to find the reasons why you are still going out every day doing the training. I’ve been training really hard and it’s paid off and to get a PB I am over the moon, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, I am really pleased with that.
“It obviously crossed my mind (quitting) but I am quite a determined person so I always wanted to get back in and I knew there was more to come.”
Joe Roebuck came from seventh at the halfway point to set a new personal best of 53.07 in the 100m butterfly, Olympic finalist Robbie Renwick won the 400m freestyle (3:49.91), Ross Murdoch took the 50m breaststroke (28.12) and Chris Walker-Hebborn headed the 200m backstroke (1:59.06).