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Austin Miller Dives Back In

Six weeks ago he broke his chest.

But now, when you see him in the pool, you wouldn’t even know it.

Late last year, Austin Miller and two other Varsity swimmers, Zach Van Goor and Matt Miller, were involved in a head-on collision during the tumultuous December weather.  Zach and Matt came away sore, but with no major injuries.  Austin, however,  got a full-fledged sternum fracture and a mangled back for Christmas.  He was taken out of swim for the entire remainder of Christmas Break practices, and then for two weeks straight of after school training.  Pained and stuck at home, he eagerly awaited his eventual return to the pool.

Now he’s back.  For the past week and a half he has been trying to make up for lost time, driven by his desire to get back into the competition.  A Junior swimmer built for the sprinting events, he has begun made strides in recovering.  In the 50 Free, one of his primary events, he is already within .09 seconds of his best-ever time of a flat :25.  Miller’s friend and fellow swimmer Zach Van Goor is impressed with his recovery, and notes his redoubled work ethic. This new determination has brought him closer and closer to the state times for his events, like the aforementioned 50 Free, 100 Free, and various relays.

Talsma wants Austin to make a successful, but safe, return to the sport.  Assigning him the shorter, less endurance-based events is a conscious effort to speed up his recovery and reduce the risk of Austin being hurt again.  He knows Austin’s strength is in the shorter, speed-based races, so the arrangement works out well for him.

“Can’t stop, just gotta keep swimming,” Austin said.  His main goal is to improve his conditioning, and to pick up where he left off before the accident.  If all goes as planned, he will qualify for state with a time of around :23 in the 50 Free.

“My back,” Miller said, specifying the most debilitating injury from the crash.  His spine was torqued and twisted violently by the impact, and he still feels it today.  Austin is unsure how long it will take him to fully recover.  His full range of motion has yet to redevelop, and his aforementioned back is still causing some discomfort.  Two days of physical therapy a week, plus a gradual reintegration into the sport, have definitely helped him regain lost ground.  His chest has healed significantly, with the fracture fortunately being a  mild one.

He has returned and has big plans for the rest of swim season.  Watch out for Austin Miller in the coming weeks as he continues to develop as a contender. Be sure to cheer for him and the entire Hamilton Swim and Dive team during their meets!

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