Hannah swims in a small club in Scotland called Garioch, and has been coached by her father Patrick throughout her career. After making her senior debut at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, finishing 4th in the 400m IM, Hannah hit the headlines in 2008 with silver and bronze in the IMs at the world short course in Manchester in 2008. After breaking Klochkova’s European lc records in the medleys, Hannah made her Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008, finishing 6th in the 400m IM. Hannah placed 4th in this event in the Rome world championships.
1. Which coach most influenced you as a young swimmer and why?
I didnât. My dad as he has been my only coach and the reason I can swim
2. What was the turning point in your career?
I have 2 points: the first was winning the silver medal for the 400 IM in 2005 at the European Championships (it was my first international medal) and the 2nd was the Commonwealth Games in 2006 Melbourne. It was then that I realized I wanted to swim as a career and keep going for as long as I can as I enjoyed everything bout the Games from the atmosphere at the pool to being part of a senior team.
3. What qualities make up a great swimmer?
Good attitude. Determination and drive. To see the positives and the negatives.
4. Who has inspired you?
Itâs quite hard to just pick one, when I was younger I was in awe of Brooke Bennett and I think my dad has always been there for me so I would say he has always been my main inspiration.
5. If you werenât a swimmer, what would you like to have been?
If I wasnât swimming I think I would have been a dancer, it was a tough choice to make when I was younger. It got to the point I had to choose between my swimming and my dancing. I really canât see myself not doing an activity if I hadnât picked swimming.
6. IM is a lot about transition of strokes, what specific transition work do you do?
We do a lot of IM switch work, working on the transitions. Also we do sets to condition each stroke. For the transition work Iâve done several step tests going 100fly â 100 bc, 100s working on 50 bc-50br and always focusing on back end speed.
7. What are your pre-race thoughts or routines?
I always listen to music before I race, it helps to get into the right state of mind. Also I try and not think too much (which is why the music comes in handy). I have a few dynamic routines that I do like I swing my arms in fly motion for 8, backward for 8, in breastroke motion for 8 and the freestyle for 8.
8. What do you enjoy most about your swimming life?
I love the racing and itâs going to sound weird but I love the buzz you get once you finish a tough set. Itâs such a different sport that I like that difference and setting myself apart from ânormalâ people. I love how you work and race as an individual but you’re still part of a team and the support you get from your team is amazing.
9. What is your favourite line from a song?
I donât tend to listen to the words that much but recently I quite like the chorus from Muse, Uprising. âThey will not force us, they will stop degrading us, they will not control us, we will be victoriousâ.
10. What three pieces of advice would you give to a young swimmer that wants to reach the top?
Enjoy what you do â itâs quite hard to get to a high level if you donât enjoy the sport.
Work at your weakest at â my coach always tells me that, when I was younger my breastroke was not great so I worked at it and now I can race at quite a high level on breaststroke which still surprises me today considering how bad it used to be.