Chelsie Miller, junior from Houston, is a member of the women’s swim team. Last season, she made the Academic All-Big 12 First Team and broke five individual school records.
By: Alex Keenan
Q: How did you decide to get into swimming?
A: When I was younger, my mom put me in a lot of different sports. I started when I was five with just a summer league swim team. I think when I was seven my mom decided she wanted me to be “better” than the other kids, so she put me into a year-round program. I was doing volleyball and other stuff, but swimming is what I enjoyed the most, so I think that’s what, as I got older, I stuck to.
Q: What’s it like being a college athlete?
A: For me, I’ve always had a routine. You get up, go to swim practice, get ready for your day and go to school, come home, eat, go to swim practice and then you take care of everything you need to for school, so doing this in college has given me a more structured day. You get to meet all the other student athletes; you feel like you are tied to the college, like you represent something bigger than yourself. I can’t imagine myself being anything other than a college athlete. I enjoy it a lot.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a college athlete?
A: Having 25 other girls that can relate to what I’m going through is probably my favorite thing. You really develop a family and you go through a lot of ups and downs with each other, and I think the best part is the bonds and experiences you get to share.
Q: What is the most difficult thing about being a college athlete?
A: There are a few things. Obviously, managing your time and your priorities between school and having to go to swim practice 20 hours a week, plus [or more]. I think sometimes if you’re not performing how you want to or don’t have the grades that you want, you really put a lot of pressure on yourself. I think that being a student athlete is being able to say that you did that in college, that you balanced everything.
Q: How has it been being such a successful swimmer? Do you ever feel pressured?
A: I would say yes, a little bit. I have continued to drop time and be successful, so I think there’s a pressure to continue doing that, but I know that no matter what happens nobody’s going to be angry with me at how I perform. I think that sometimes I get caught up in the expectations that others have for me, but I just have to sit back and tell myself that this is what I do, and I have to do it for me.
Q: Do you plan to go professional?
A: If I thought that I could go pro, I would do it already. I still have about a year-and-a-half left in college, so if in that year-and-a-half I can continue to drop time and climb, I would love to go pro. That is probably my dream.
Q: What does your typical day look like?
A: It changes throughout the week. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays we have morning practice, so for those days, we’ll swim and lift. So swim for about an hour and then we lift for about 45 minutes in the weight room, and then I get ready for school, go to all my classes. Then you have afternoon practice Monday through Friday. After practice the whole team goes to dinner at the dorms. Then I go home and do all the schoolwork I have to do, and then I go to bed.
Q: What do you look forward to most each day?
A: I think what I look forward to most is being able to get better. Waking up and knowing that today’s another day, and you have another [day] to accomplish and work toward what you want.
Q: What do you look forward to the least?
A: Honestly; getting out of bed is the worst. I hate waking up. It’s really hard for me. I have to set a few alarms.
Q: What do you enjoy besides swimming?
A: Being social is one of my biggest things. There’s not just one thing I enjoy other than swimming because swimming is what I do, but I would say hanging out with my friends and trying new things.
Q: What would your perfect day be like?
A: Honestly, it would be to wake up whenever I wanted, make breakfast with some bacon and pancakes, and just lounge around. Just have the opportunity to be lazy and just hang out with no worries. I think that would be one of my most ideal [days].
— Edited by Yu Kyung Lee
Photos by: Aaron Groene/KANSAN