Trib HSSN boys swimmer of the week: Henry Miller, Southmoreland

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Friday, February 21, 2020 | 5:53 PM


For most of this winter high school sports season, Henry Miller pulled double duty, representing Southmoreland both as an independent swimmer and as a member of the wrestling team.

“He’s driven with a great work ethic,” said Barry Miller, Henry’s father and a coaching representative for the freshman’s swimming efforts. “He likes to do a lot of things.”

Miller started wrestling a year ago, and he finished his first varsity season with a 7-15 record mostly at 126 pounds.

But swimming has been at the forefront since he was 7, and now, eight years later, he is in position to contend for gold at the WPIAL Class AA championships Thursday and Friday at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

“Henry has been working so hard with his training in the pool the past couple of weeks to get ready,” Barry Miller said.

Miller, a member of the Mt. Pleasant Aqua Club team, is the No. 2 seed in the 100-yard breaststroke behind Knoch senior Braden Zukowski. He’s also in medal contention as the eighth seed in the 100 butterfly.

Henry picked up his season bests in the 100 breast (1:02.96) and 100 fly (57.35) against both Class AA and AAA competition at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet at Derry on Jan. 25.

“That was a great opportunity for him to go up against all of those kids,” Barry Miller said. “It really pushed him to go faster and get those times.”

The WCCA meet was an early opportunity to swim in a style of meet similar to the WPIAL championships.

Two weeks later, Miller took to the pool at the Mark Hess Memorial Invitational at Indiana High School, bested the field of 28 in the 100 breast (1:03.27) and added a third in the 200 IM (season-best 2:12.83).

“He really gives it his all,” Barry Miller said. “We’re really excited to see what he can do at WPIALs. He has a good chance to advance to states.”

Only the champion in each individual and relay event at the WPIAL championships earns an automatic berth to the PIAA meet at Bucknell. The at-large qualifiers from the WPIAL will be determined by comparing those times with the times of swimmers and relays from the other 11 districts.

Miller is one of two Class AA boys freshmen to own seeds of second or better in their individual events. The other is Northgate’s Matthew Purcell, the No. 2 seed in the 100 backstroke (55.73).

Miller’s wrestling and swimming practice and competition schedules sometimes created busy days.

“(Wrestling coach Dan Boring) was so accommodating and easy to work with, knowing what Henry was doing with his swimming,” Barry Miller said.

Miller’s participation in both sports also created an impactful moment about a month ago as the entire Southmoreland wrestling team came to support Miller at a Mt. Pleasant meet.

“That was above and beyond,” Barry Miller said. “That really meant a lot to Henry.

“Coach Boring has a wonderful program, and he made Henry feel comfortable right from the start. The conditioning he did for wrestling really helped his swimming.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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