HAVRE — Jacob Miller hasn’t always been a swimmer.
But the Havre High senior will be for at least another few years after Miller committed to swim at NCAA Division II Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado.
“They have really good facilities and I got an academic scholarship there. The coach was really, really fighting for me to go there and pushing for me and doing everything he could to make it affordable and doable for me to go there,” Adams said of why he chose Adams State. “And they have the programs I want to pursue academically.”
The son of a pharmacist, Miller plans to pursue a degree in pharmacy or dentistry. According to him, Adams State has the undergraduate coursework required for post-graduate school for both degrees.
Swimming in college is an added bonus. Miller didn’t start swimming until sixth grade, and his career got off to an inauspicious start.
“I used to be kind of a chubster, I’m not going to lie. I used to do baseball and my parents wanted me to lose weight. And I’m not going to lie, I hated (swimming), and I hated every minute of it, but I had no choice to do it,” he said. “And eventually I kind of just hated it so much that I started to get good at it, and then I liked it.”
It didn’t take long for Miller to get results. Through training and workouts, he said he shed approximately 45 pounds in the first year. He came back to school as a seventh grader and none of his sixth-grade classmates recognized the slimmer version. It was around that time that Miller fell in love with swimming.
Fast forward a few years, and Miller capped his high school career in fine fashion. He swam a leg on Havre’s championship-winning 400-yard freestyle relay team, helping Havre tie with Billings Central for the Class A-B boys state championship as a junior. Miller then claimed an individual gold medal in the 100-yard breaststroke as a senior.
“It was pretty surreal. Getting that title for the team was really awesome to see all the hard work of everyone pay off. Then I’m really glad I had that individual my senior year, because that was something that I wanted for me. It was hard. It was kind of seeing all my work pay off for the last six years,” Miller said. “It was just a really nice cherry on top of everything I’d done.”
Now, the rewards keep coming for Miller, who also carries a 4.0 grade-point average. Though the coronavirus outbreak canceled a trip to tour the campus, Miller has already registered for classes and will start his college career this fall. The plan is to start like normal in August, but Adams State has contingencies in place if the 2020-21 school year has to start with online classes.
As for the swimming aspect of his freshman year, Miller has one goal.
“I’m really hoping to come back Christmas or after my first year and just be super ripped,” he said.