THERE was a time when a month-long off-season holiday to the United States would have been a blowout for Dan Hannebery ... but those days are gone.

The Swans midfielder admits he used to let himself go at the end of the season when he first came into the League, but a more disciplined and mature Hannebery, who was recently elevated to vice-captain under new skipper Josh Kennedy, is now one of John Longmire's most professional athletes.

The 25-year-old could have been forgiven for easing himself into the 2017 pre-season after suffering a significant medial ligament strain in last year's Grand Final loss to the Western Bulldogs, but instead the three-time All Australian wingman threw his full commitment into his rehabilitation.

Despite being unable to run for four weeks and spending a month in the land of big beers and even bigger burgers, Hannebery blitzed the field to win the Swans' 3km time trial in early December, and hasn't missed a beat since.

He told the secret and motivation behind his ability to return to the track in such outstanding condition.

"I made the call to get off (alcohol) and it's probably been five months now," he said.

"Purely because I wanted to give the body a chance to recover, and then when I realised how good I felt after eight or nine weeks, I thought why not keep it going?

"I went to the States with my partner Katie, just relaxed and recovered well, and was really conscious about looking after the body because of the knee.

"It's certainly a tough place to not let your hair down, believe me, but we just went to a few sporting events and took it easy.

"When I was a bit younger I'd go on a break and have too many beers with my mates, probably not eat the right foods, and go out a bit more than you should, and as a young player that’s a trap you can fall into.

"You don't think about it too much, you don't think about being out of shape and the training sessions you might miss, but when you get older you get smarter.

"You have to go away and make sure you switch off, but in the back of your mind you know you have to come back in a condition that will allow you to have a good pre-season."

After a frustrating 2014 season by his standards, Hannebery's more professional approach to footy has helped him raise his game to such an elite level that he is arguably the competition's best and most consistent wingman.

The star Swan has played in all 50 of the Swans' games, racked up an incredible 1722 possessions at an average of over 30 per match, and been named All Australian both years.

As part of the game's most stacked midfield alongside Kennedy, Luke Parker and Kieren Jack, Hannebery spends his time rotating between the wing and midfield positions, and said the freedom given to him by the Swans' midfield coaches plays a huge role in their success.

"Stewy Dew and Josh Francou encourage the guys to play it as they see it," he said.

"It's about seeing what is working on the day and working with the other midfielders to get the right mix, so if the insiders are working really well or the wings are doing the same, you see that and stick with it.

"We don't want Josh (Kennedy), 'Parksy' (Luke Parker), Kieren (Jack) or myself to be in there 100 per cent of the time, we want to have regular changes and make sure we get a fresh group of midfielders going in.

"Gone are the days when you'll have one or two guys in there bullocking for the whole game, the way the game is played these days you need a constant rotation at the contest."

Below: Dan Hannebery goes down in the 2016 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos