Miller Nabs Big 12 Weekly Honor from League's Coaches
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Even for elite swimmers, the day-to-day grind of practices and a long season can cause the mind to wander and wonder about the process, especially when winning is what you do nearly every time out. Kansas’ Chelsie Miller received further validation of her early work Thursday when she was selected as the Big 12 Conference Women’s Swimmer of the Week by the league’s coaches.
Miller tallied a handful of victories in KU’s first two weekends of the season, earning six first-place finishes in eight races. The Houston native currently ranks 15th in the nation in the 400-yard IM after turning in a time of 4:18.37 against Denver and Missouri State, an NCAA B qualifying standard. Additionally, that swim lowered her own Robinson Natatorium pool record. She took first in the 200 fly, 200 IM and 500 free in the double dual and then, last weekend, had wins in the 200 fly and 500 free in a road swim at TCU.
“It definitely means something, just to know that your accomplishments are being seen and noted – it’s nice to know it’s for something (and be reminded of) the bigger picture,” Miller said. “(The start of the season) is a lot quicker than year’s past, I’m excited to see what that means for the end of the season. I’m just kind of taking it however and am going to see what happens.
“There’s a lot of times when you think about a lot of things and question, ‘Is this the right process, am I doing the right thing’…you have to trust the process and believe in it, just have faith that in the end what’s going to happen is going to happen and hopefully it’s good.”
Miller, who was named CollegeSwimming.com’s top Big 12 swimmer last week, joined TCU’s Kristen Connolly (women’s diver), West Virginia’s Andrew Marsh (men’s swimmer) and Alex Obendorf (men’s diver) as this week’s top performers as seen through the eyes of Big 12 head coaches. The honors mark the first weekly awards of the season for all four, but Miller is not stranger to the honor or league awards having also previously been named the Big 12 Championship Swimmer of the Meet in 2014.
“Anytime you win an award it’s really cool to be recognized,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “She’s had a really good start to her season, over and above her other three years. She’s faster than she’s ever been in October and early November so we’re excited to see what Winter Nationals brings, and Big 12s and NCAAs.”
While Miller, who has four separate event times among the nation’s top-100 at this point in the season, is seeing success individually, Campbell was more impressed by her influence on teammate Madison Straight. The Fort Worth native swam a season-best 2:05.01 to out-touch Miller and win the 200-yard individual medley in a homecoming win at TCU Saturday.
“(Chelsie) really took each race one-by-one and was very complimentary towards Madison Straight in the 200 IM, which I thought was huge,” Campbell said. “We have two very good 200 IM swimmers, and Madison really had an outstanding race. Madison’s improvement can be attributed a lot to Chelsie – helping her out in practice and pushing her in workouts. I was really pleased to see how happy Chelsie was with Madison’s 200 IM, because we’re setting up to have a really dynamic IM group this year and everyone getting better is going to make us all better.”
Kansas, which has been ranked as high as No. 46 in CollegeSwimming.com’s team poll through early competition this season, welcomes Nebraska to Robinson Natatorium for a dual meet on Friday at 5 p.m. All Jayhawk home swimming and diving events are free and open to the public.
“This team is going to be amazing…I’m excited for it to be my senior year with this team, it’s going to be really good,” Miller said. “Just the beginning that we’ve had, I can’t wait to see what happens at the Big 12 Championships.”
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.