One On One With Chelsie Miller
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Chelsie Miller had a record-breaking year for the Kansas Jayhawks. She broke a total of five individual all-time school records and was a member of a relay team record this year for Kansas: 1650-yard freestyle (16:09.00), 1,000-yard freestyle (9:49.14), 200-yard butterfly (1:58.58), 200-yard individual medley (1:58.98), 400-yard individual medley (4:07.97) and the 800-yard freestyle relay (7:11.99).
While at the 2014 Big 12 Championships, Miller became the first Jayhawk ever to clinch a Big 12 title for her performances in the 400-yard individual medley (4:07.97). The sophomore placed in the top three in a total of four events at the conference championships: 1650-yard freestyle, 200- and 400-yard individual medley and the 800-yard freestyle relay. She was also named Swimmer of the Meet.
As the sole Jayhawk at the 2014 NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., she became the first Jayhawk to clinch All-American status in four years for her performance in the 400-yard individual medley by swimming a time of 4:10.55 and placing 15th. She narrowly missed All-American status in the 1650-yard freestyle when she placed 17th (16:09.00).
Miller also represented Kansas at the 2013 AT&T Winter Nationals and placed second overall in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:08.86. She was also named Swimmer of the Week on Dec. 11 for these accomplishments.
She holds the top 2013-14 Kansas team time in the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:49.14), 200-yard butterfly (1:58.58), 200-yard individual medley (1:58.98), 400-yard individual medley (4:07.97). Miller was named a member of the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.
She was a consistent scorer for the Jayhawks, placing first a total of 15 times in individual events during the 2013-14 season. She placed in at least the top five in every event at every dual or double dual throughout the season. To help the Jayhawk community get to know her better, Miller answered some questions about her season.
In what area did you improve the most from last season to this season?
“This season I worked a lot on my breaststroke,” Miler said. “Coming into college that was my strongest stroke. We had focused a lot more on improving my backstroke and not as much on the breast last season. I think that really helped with my 400-yard individual medley and being able to put all the strokes together and having a really smooth race.”
Head Coach Clark Campbell said the each member of the team established goals with him at the beginning of each season. In what ways have you accomplished your goals this season?
“This season my main goal was to make it to the NCAA Championship meet and I did that,” Miller said. “Winning the 400-yard individual medley at the Big 12 Championships was also something I had my sights on, but we didn’t make that a huge priority. We just wanted to have a solid race. One of the biggest things for swimmers is improving personal times and I was able to do that as well.”
How has support from your coaches and teammates helped you achieve your goals?
“Having the support from everyone around you is such a huge deal and I could not have asked for a more supportive team,” Miller said. “Waking up at 5:30 a.m. to workout gets a little tough, but knowing you’re doing it with your team makes it so much easier. As a team, we spend a lot of time together and we know what each other wants to accomplish during the season. The girls were supportive of everything I wanted to do and helped motivate me along the way.”
What are your thoughts on being the first All-American in four years?
“I am excited to break that streak and I can say that I am excited for the future of the team,” Miller said. “I think we will have at least a few more girls at NCAA Championships next year and hopefully that means a few more All-Americans, too.”
How will your success this year motivate you and your team through next season?
“I think my success has shown the team that we all have the ability to compete at the next level,” Miller said. “We all train really hard and I think everyone is motivated to take the team further. We have already set some team goals for next year that are pretty big, but I am confident we can do it.”
If you had to pick one or two things, what was the key to your success this season?
“A huge part of my success this season was believing in myself and my ability to compete as a swimmer,” Miller said. “Having faith that it would be okay regardless of the outcome of each race helped me stay calm and relaxed going into my races. Another thing that really helped this year was a team culture that was positive and encouraging. We put more emphasis on having fun at swim meets and that made a big difference.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced this season and how did you overcome it?
“I would have to say that creating a team culture and mindset that would excel in and out of the pool was a big challenge this year. We had some team meetings together and set guidelines to help keep each other accountable for our actions and just remind each other what we want to accomplish at the end of the season,” Miller said. “We had a great group of girls this season and we really nailed our goal to finish top two at the Big 12 Conference.”
What advice you would give to the incoming freshmen based on your experiences this year?
“To the incoming freshmen, I would say have faith in the program and the coaches to take you where you want to go,” Miller said. “Stay focused on your goals and know that there are going to be hard times when you miss home and what not, but don’t ever give up on why you do what you do.”
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