After watching the Mines Football team win the RMAC championship, the Men’s Soccer team become the first #1 ranked team in the nation, the Men’s Cross Country team finish fourth in the nation, and seeing the rest of the athletic teams witness unprecedented success, it seems that the Mines Swimming and Diving teams did not want to be left out. The men’s and women’s teams are each coming off of first place finishes at the Colorado College Invitational and now look to extend the success as they contend for the RMAC championship February 9-10. Leading the aquatic Orediggers is senior swimmer Aaron Miller. Miller, a Materials and Metallurgy major, wasted no time in earning success, becoming a co-recipient of the Rookie of the Year award as a freshman in 2008. The past three years, his work in the classroom has earned him respect, as he has been named to the honor roll each year, named to the Dean’s List in 2010, named an RMAC All-American, and named a CSCAA Honorable Mention Scholar All-American. At Colorado College, Miller dominated the 1650m freestyle in 17:15.23, won by nearly two full seconds in the 500m freestyle (4:51.57), and placed fourth in the 200m freestyle (1:48.55). Miller is on the cusp of qualifying for the National Championships in San Antonio for the first time in his career. For his efforts over the last four years, Miller is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
How did you begin swimming?
I think I was about 9 years old, and I would always go swimming because my friends would go swimming in the summer. We were all in a swim club back home. I would swim in the morning and then go play baseball and soccer in the afternoon.
I knew I wanted to go into engineering, and I knew I wanted to keep swimming. It came down to Mines and the Air Force. But I knew I was not up for Air Force; it was too regimented for me. I remember they said I would have to get a haircut if I went there, and that was the last straw.
What is some of the training that you go through to prepare for swimming?
Some of us do triathlon training in the off season. It’s nice not to be in the water for a change. In season, we have two hours of swimming in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday, and two hours in the afternoon. We have two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays too.
How do you stay relaxed?
Swimming is my break from school. The 20-plus hours a week of swimming is 20-plus hours a week that I don’t have to do homework.
What is your favorite race?
I’m best at the mile, but that gets old real fast. I like the 200. It’s just long enough for distance swimmers, and long for the sprinters.
What is your least favorite?
Backstroke, probably because I’m so terrible in it.
What is your favorite swimming memory?
I couldn’t pick out just one. I liked the large taper meets, where everyone goes and the whole team gets to watch everyone do something.
What are your thoughts on the RMAC championship?
Incarnate Word is going to be tough. They have people in every event. But it won’t be impossible to beat them. Everyone just has to have a great race.
What do you do in your free time (if it exists)?
All my free time goes to homework and trying to get 8 hours of sleep. But I’m going to try to snowboard some more. I have to pay off my pass.
Favorite aspect of being a student athlete?
The sense of accomplishment that you get from competing. Everyone at Mines works hard, it’s fun to be able to play hard as well and represent the school doing it.
What is your favorite part about being on the team?
Just to see how the team atmosphere has changed over the years. We are like a huge family. My best friends are the swim team. It’s not a coincidence that as we’ve gotten closer as a team, we’ve become faster and better.