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Things are going swimmingly for Team Miley and its coach

Patrick Miley is one of life's pragmatists but, then again, this is a man who flies helicopters over the treacherous North Sea for a living.

Yesterday, Miley Sr spoke of his delight at the way his daughter Hannah had surged to a gold medal at the World Short-Course Championships in Istanbul. He did so from the north east of the country, prior to taking his sons, Alastair, 18, and Joseph, 15, to Edinburgh for the Scottish Short-Course Championships, which start today.

Team Miley is a unique unit. They are on a wholesale, long-term mission and the same intractable qualities which are required to fly a chopper into the dank beyond have been harnessed to cover every eventuality in the pool.

It might be hard, it might be stringent but, according to the gospel of Patrick Miley, it works. "Hannah's motivation is a big part of what we are doing. After the Olympics [she finished fifth and seventh in her finals], she was determined to get back into training as quickly as possible," said Patrick. "She was only away from the pool for two weeks. A lot of the other competitors took much longer to return. But that is the way it is with Hannah.

"She has made swimming the central part of her life. Even before the London Games, I was asked whether [at 22], she was going to retire after the event. I wondered where that idea had come from. I think too many swimmers quit the sport too early and it seemed strange to me that I was being asked about Hannah's future.

"It suggested that she had done all she could do in the sport, which was never the case. Different athletes make progress at different speeds and Hannah is fully focused on being involved at Rio in 2016. Anybody who suggests otherwise doesn't know my daughter. She is fiercely committed to her sport, she knows it is her life for the foreseeable future, and she wants to be with Team GB in Brazil."

The Mileys have always been focused on their ambitions. Even in primary school, the Garioch girl was putting her slender frame through the wringer. She once punched a wall in frustration and, despite later admitting it hurt, refused to acknowledge there was any problem in world-class athletes using their pent-up aggression as a potentially positive tool.

Thus, Miley has changed aspects of her training regime. She no longer sleeps during the day, apart from the occasional cat nap and she has added two or three kilograms to her weight. It doesn't transform her from a waif to a lard bucket, but, according to Patrick, it does explain why she was able to meet and beat the Chinese teenage sensation Ye Shiwen in Istanbul.

"I know Hannah and she has changed in the last few months" said her father. "It is all about growing up as a professional athlete and she knows what she has to do. I don't believe, as a coach, in taking people by the hand and trying to tell them everything. They have to understand that for themselves and, ever since the Olympics, Hannah has pushed herself harder and harder.

"Now she has a gold medal, but you have to realise this is just the World Short-Course Championships. Her ambition is to use this event to get ready for the World Long Course in 2013. Then, and only then, we can work out how things are going."

This is a redoubtable family unit. And there could be further positive headlines in the days ahead, as far apart as Istanbul and Edinburgh.

Miley just missed out on a medal in the 800m freestyle last night. She recorded an impressive 8min 16.09sec but was pipped for bronze by American Chloe Sutton by 0.56sec. New Zealand's Lauren Boyle was a surprise winner over Lotte Friis, the European champion from Denmark.

*Olympians Caitlin McClatchey and Keri-Anne Payne will both be in action at the Scottish Gas National Short Course Championships, starting today at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

McClatchey, a graduate of Loughborough University, has moved to the capital to study for a Masters degree in Psychology at Edinburgh, but she still has swimming goals and wants to make it to a third Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014.

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