Jan. 31, 2013
Carrying on the practices of legendary head coach Mike Peppe, Bill Wadley has instilled within his Buckeyes a team-oriented philosophy. One of the prime examples of this coaching mindset in action is junior distance swimmer Alex Miller.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio and product of high school swimming powerhouse St. Xavier, Miller arrived on Ohio State's campus like so many others recruited by Wadley, accomplished and driven. Complacency, however, wasn't an option. Miller has chosen to use his time as a Buckeye to become a better swimmer, not only for himself but his team. Growing into one of the top distance swimmers in the Big Ten as well as NCAA, there is little doubt Miller will continue to add up individual wins. After speaking with him though, it is apparent the only number he will be keeping track of is the maximum points he can score for his team - a goal he strives to accomplish every single meet.
What was your experience like competing at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials?
"I've been around swimming for a long time, so it was cool to see people that I know have a shot to make the team. It's a high level of competition, so I knew I was mainly there to compete against guys at my level. It was also fun though to be around the best people in the sport."
What are the specific areas you want to improve moving forward this season?
"I have times in my mind. I feel like at these big meets I haven't put down the amount of points I've wanted to. I just want to be a player for the team and make sure I get points in the A-Final, not just at Big Tens but NCAAs as well. That would be big for me."
Three guys on the current roster hail from St. Xavier High School. How did your high school program shape where you are today as a swimmer?
"It's nice to have guys I know, but it's not at all the same as high school. In college, I'm training with a whole new set of distance guys. The training set up we have here at Ohio State is very similar though to what I had in high school - very IM and distance based for me. St. Xavier is known for their swimming, even Dave Rollins was an assistant there for some time."
What are your thoughts on the strength of the Big Ten conference?
"I think swimming conferences are kind of changing and the Big Ten has a lot of respect right now compared to even five years ago. There was a guy from Michigan who went to the Olympics. That raises the game for all of us. We want to compete with them. He might be pretty far ahead of me, but it's still cool to know that is the standard. You're in the Big Ten and we have guys who compete at the highest level."
How have you progressed this season in regards to training?
"As a junior, the physical demands of training are not quite as hard on my body as it used to be. Technique, however, is just as important as it has always been. Now that I'm not killed by the distance in practice, I have the chance to really hone in on my stroke. I actually think I've made a lot of progress on my stroke this January and that's been exciting for me."
How would you describe this season's distance contingent?
"We are used to everyday coming in and pushing each other a lot. It's not always the same guys everyday leading the lane, which is interesting. We have fun. We're kind of separated from the rest of the team a little bit because we do different sets in the morning and then again at night. We actually just got a new addition with Jovan Mitrovic. Having him now is especially nice. He has no idea what the status quo would be, he's ready to come in and just attack. He really pushes me."
Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?
"The main factor was the coaching staff. It seemed like guys who went to Ohio State improved, it wasn't just about maintaining. Being from Cincinnati, it's nice to get to stay close to home. Plus, I wanted to study engineering and Ohio State has a great engineering school."
If head coach Bill Wadley told you practice was canceled tomorrow and you had the entire day free, what would you do?
"Is this a trick question? It hasn't really crossed my mind before. I wouldn't set an alarm and probably would have a pretty big breakfast. If it was a normal day, I'd catch up on school work."