The Beverly Review
Standing behind the blocks waiting to swim for a state championship on Feb. 23, Br. Rice junior Seth Miller felt his nerves start to churn.
He looked around the New Trier High School pool and saw hundreds of fans packed into the bleachers surrounding the pool. The nerves were there, but he intended to use them to his advantage in the final heat of the 100-yard butterfly.
That strategy worked, and Miller finished fourth in :49.28.
“I felt the nerves, but that’s a good thing,” Miller said. “It gets your adrenaline going, and it helps me get better each time. I heard everyone going nuts in the stands. I fed off that energy knowing I’d made it to the A final at the state championship.”
Miller (Evergreen Park, Central Middle School) qualified for two events at state. He finished 18th in the backstroke with a time of :52.12.
The preliminary heats were held Feb. 22 with the top six swimmers advancing to the championship heat and the next six to the consolation heat.
In the preliminaries, Miller swam the butterfly in :49.52, good for third place.
Despite placing fourth in the finals, Miller was not disappointed.
“People drop time in the finals, but I was really pleased with my own time,” Miller said. “That’s what I focused on, especially going into next year.”
The second- through fifth-place finishers were separated by just .51 hundredths of a second in the championship heat.
“It’s all the practices. It’s all the small things,” Miller said. “You need to do all the small things right. That’s definitely true in swimming. You need to stay focused and be ready to swim your best time.”
Br. Rice Coach Tony Cichowicz saw his star junior excel this year—especially under the bright lights of the state meet.
“Seth worked hard all season,” Cichowicz said. “He knows where he wants to be and where he wants to go. I’m not going to stop him. I’m just going to turn him loose.”
Miller is the first Br. Rice swimmer to finish in the championship heat of a non-disabilities event at state since Matt Wood finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle in 2004.
In 2018, freshman Dylan Early won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races for athletes with disabilities.
Miller has already set his goals for his senior season.
“I plan on winning next year,” Miller said. “Over the summer, I’m doing a lot of offseason work. I want to drop time drastically, and I’m planning on coming back and being the top finisher next year.”
Cichowicz said he believes Miller will achieve his goals.
“Oh yeah, he can do anything he puts his mind to,” Cichowicz said. “There’s nothing he can’t do, especially in the fly. I guarantee he’ll be back next year, bigger and stronger.”
Br. Rice sophomore Kiernan Schumacher (St. Cajetan) finished 39th in the 100-yard butterfly (:48.99) and tied for 47th in the 50-yard freestyle (:22.24).
Senior diver Christopher Jones finished 36th in state (168.35 points).
St. Ignatius senior sprinter Anthony Severino finished 37th in the 50 free (:21.91).