Q&A with Michael Miller
In three-plus years at UVa, Michael Miller went from being a walk-on to Lawn resident to being voted team co-captain of the men’s swimming team. Miller, a politics major, was recently named a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes scholarship, another accolade to add to his many achievements in the classroom.
You’re an Echols Scholar. What exactly is that?
Miller: There are about 200 students in the College of Arts and Sciences each year that get this distinction when they come in to the school, and about 200 more that get it after their first year. You don’t have any course requirements, so you can just focus on whatever your specific interest is, and you get to live with the other Echols Scholars during your first year. So it’s a community within the University community.
What’s it like to live on the Lawn?
Miller: It was something I was very surprised to get. It’s a great experience because there’s so much tradition associated with it and, even more so, with the team. We’ve had multiple people who have lived on the Lawn, so it’s something that I am glad to continue to be a part of.
What was it like to be a Rhodes finalist?
Miller: It was fairly intense, but it was also something that was really fun to contribute to. There were 10 finalists that were at the competition with me, and just to meet them was really cool. I was glad I was able to do it, even though I didn’t get the whole way. I was just honored to be there.
What is your role as a team co-captain?
Miller: I just try to keep the guys together, be a leader, and make sure everybody is mentally ready at every meet and on the same page. It’s something I would do as a fourth-year, whether or not I was captain. It’s something all the fourth-years try to do, especially this year. We’ve made it a big goal to get the ACC title back.
What motivates you in the pool?
Miller: I just like to swim. It’s something I like to do. I just love the guys on the team, so to be able to come here two times a day and be with them and train with them is a really fun experience.
What do you want to do after graduation?
Miller: I want to go into American politics, and after graduation, I’ll probably go to law school. I’ve gotten into Duke and I’m applying to a few others.
What’s your favorite class at UVa?
Miller: I’m taking Campaigns and Elections with Dr. Sabato, and that’s really fun.
If there was a Virginia swimming team edition of Survivor, who would win and why?
Miller: John Snawerdt. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to stay on that island.
What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Miller: A song from Disney’s Jungle Book.
What’s the best thing about competing in the AFC?
Miller: The best thing is that you get to interact with members of the community, which is cool, especially the professors and the people in Charlottesville who used to swim competitively. It’s nice to be able to develop those relationships and not just be limited to the team.
What is one thing about you people would be surprised to know?
Miller: I’m kind of bland. And I don’t want to say anything too embarrassing. But I like to bowl.