Sunday, 4 March 2012
Taking A Closer Look at Hannah Miley's 4:32.67 400m IM
Day One of the British Olympic trials saw Hannah Miley set a new textile lifetime best in the 400m IM and moved herself to the top of this year's world rankings.
Her time of 4:32.67 was 1.55 seconds faster than her silver medal winning performance at the World Championships and brings her to within a second of Elizabeth Beisel's textile best time from Shanghai.
As one of the comments on this site pointed out, Miley's 300m split was actually faster than Beisel's. So where has Miley made improvements since Shanghai?
Miley Shanghai - Fly - 30.3/1:03.97 - Back - 35.6/1:10.64 - Breast - 38.3/1:16.98 - Free - 32.2/1:02.63
Miley London - Fly - 29.8/1:03.10 - Back - 34.7/1:09.36 - Breast - 37.9/1:16.77 - Free - 32.2/1:03.44
Miley's improved her splits on every stroke up until 300m with the biggest improvements on her Backstroke and Butterfly. A notoriously slow starter, being closer to the field over the first 200m should serve Miley well.
Elizabeth Beisel established herself as the clear world number one in this event, here is how her Shanghai splits match up to those of the Scot (with overall lead in brackets). In a virtual head-to-head the lead changes with every stroke:
Beisel Shanghai - Fly - 29.6/1:03.32 (+0.22 behind Miley) - Back - 34.7/1:08.64 (-0.50 in front) - Breast - 38.5/1:17.84 (+0.57) - Free - 31.2/1:01.98 (-0.89)
Miley's greatest weapon in the Medley continues to be her Breaststroke. Among the world's top IMers only Caitlin Leverenz has a better Breaststroke leg and until now the American hasn't been able to match Miley's Backstroke or Freestyle. The biggest step forward that Miley made yesterday was on her Backstroke, getting within 0.7 seconds of Beisel's world class Backstroke.
The challenge now for Miley (and her coach who happens to be her father) is to make sure that she can drop even more time at the Olympics. It was something she had failed to do in 2008 and 2009, but has dropped time in both of the last two major championships, boding well for London.
The only negative from yesterday's swim was the freestyle leg. It was a full 0.8 seconds slower than Miley's closing 100 at Worlds and nearly 1.5 seconds slower than Beisel's Shanghai closing speed. Given that Miley is a more than competent freestyler, this comes as a slight surprise. Both women's freestyle times are similar, in 2011 Beisel swam 1:59.17 and 4:08.57 in the 200m and 400m Free, compared to Miley's 1:59.34 and 4:09.59.
At the Olympics with the home crowd cheering on Miley and potentially being at the head of the field, it may be enough to get Great Britain off to a golden start.