Delray Beach’s Sara Miller is still searching for her first win in horseback riding, but she is making waves in the swimming pool.
The recently-turned-13-year-old picked up an MVP Team Award for her previous (11-12) age group with the Saint Andrew’s Aquatics swim team. Miller, who has been with the program since she was 8, picked up her award on May 15 at the 2020-21 awards ceremony at Spanish River Park.
Swimming and horseback riding has been a delicate balance for Miller, who is a seventh-grader at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton. In addition to club swimming, she is also a member of the high school swim team that finished second this past fall in the FHSAA Class 1A competition.
“Swimming in the high group in high school helped me improve,” Miller said. “The practices are more involved, and hard. It is just like more for me.
“Normally when I am at a meet, I am just thinking about my races,” she said. “I normally don’t know my races until the day I am swimming them because when I have too much, I get overwhelmed sometimes.”
In the Florida Gold Coast 14-and-Under Junior Olympics Short Course Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Center in the spring, Miller finished fourth in the high point with 52 points. She finished second in the girls’ 11-12 400 IM, third in the 100 breast, third in the 50 breast, third in the 500 free, fourth in the 200 IM, fourth in the 100 IM, and sixth in the 200 free.
“When it is a meet like that, I go through the races and think which one of the races is the main one, and that is the one that I want to succeed in the most. That is usually the IM or the breaststroke because those are my events.”
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After swimming seven races and three relays, Miller didn’t take any time to rest. She went scuba diving with her father the following day. Then, she planned on catching up on her sleep.
Miller trains six days a week, and sometimes five, so she can work on her horseback riding.
“It is two hours of swim training a day,” said Miller, who also competed for the high school’s water polo team at Saint Andrew’s, meaning there were days where she was in the water for four hours.
“I would also do twice a week for horseback riding for three hours a day,” Miller said. “I like swimming more because I have done it longer. I do showjumping. I don’t really take time off for swimming. My longest break from swimming was probably two weeks, except for quarantine although I did keep swimming during quarantine.”
Saint Andrew’s swim coach Sid Cassidy said Miller is a hard worker.
“Sara is an incredibly talented versatile athlete who is a great contributor to our team,” he said. “She gives of herself in both training sessions and competitions and has truly matured into a great leader for her group.”