Hello fellow Oregon Masters swimmers & friends!
My name is Matt Miller and I am honored to be serving as the Co-Coaches Chair with Tim Waud. I’m really excited about the opportunity to contribute to Oregon Masters Swimming in this new capacity! To introduce myself, I thought it could be beneficial to share a bit about my swimming history.
I absolutely love swimming and it is a primary focus of my life. It was nearly 6 years ago in mid-2011 that I serendipitously dipped into swimming as a competitive sport. Athleticism and sports have always meant a lot to me and have greatly shaped my life and perspective. I’ve always been active in athletics, and have played most sports at one time or another. I was a runner in high school and through my adult life, diving into triathlons in my 20s and early 30s until an old knee injury caught up with me, sadly making running too painful to continue. At that time, thankfully, a friend told me about a local YMCA group swimming class. I attended, and was hooked. I was so relieved and happy to find that I really enjoyed swimming, and that swimming provided excellent exercise while being easy on the joints.
Swimming was the mentally and physically demanding total-body workout that I had been missing all my life. The multiple challenges and strokes of swimming intrigued me. Being aware of what all parts of your body are doing, and manipulating them to minimize drag and maximize propulsion, while controlling your breathing in a situation where the human instinct is to panic? Well, that’s tough! I was all in.
Realizing that swimming was going to be a serious life-focus for me, I then began workouts with the Rogue Valley Masters (RVM) swimmers in Ashland, Oregon. I feel very lucky that RVM is here in my hometown of Ashland. The team has been going strong for over 30 years, and the fellow swimmers were amazingly welcoming and helpful. I’m very grateful to have received a plethora of helpful feedback and guidance from team members, especially from several former competitive swimmers who guided me as I became interested in competing at pool swimming events.
When I began Masters swimming I wasn’t very good at any of the strokes, controlling my breathing, doing flip turns, streamlining, or any of the basics and nuances of swimming that are so vitally important to swimming fast. However, thankfully I did have some natural aptitude for the sport, that my teammates noticed and encouraged. Their encouragement, combined with the interesting challenges and great benefits of swimming, has resulted in a persistent swimming infatuation that is even stronger now than it was then.
Since beginning swimming as a sport, I’ve been in the pool and working out 6 days a week, almost without exception (a serious bicycle wreck relegated me to the sidelines for a few months, but I was happily back at it with a kickboard, the moment I could!). I’m also routinely reading swimming books, magazines, and online articles, and watching countless online videos about swimming technique. I’ve participated in dozens and dozens of meets, where I’m always observing to learn, and working to improve.
I have tried to involve myself in swimming as much as I possibly can. I worked as an assistant swimming coach at Ashland High School for three seasons. This winter (2016-2017) I have been helping out as an assistant coach at St. Mary’s High School in Medford, Oregon. I became USA Swimming certified so that I could coach even more extensively. I’ve also earned up through USMS level 3 coaching certification.
In 2015, I enjoyed serving as the head coach for Oregon at USMS Spring Nationals in San Antonio, Texas. This summer, at USMS Summer Nationals in Gresham, I served as the women’s relay coach. I’ve also been on the OMS board for the past few years, contributing as the Webmaster, which I will continue to do.
As a Co-Coaches Chair with Tim Waud, I’m excited to share any knowledge and experience that I’ve gained over these recent years of my swimming career and to learn from all of you. I hope that my enthusiasm and love for the sport is also shared. I welcome any suggestions, comments, concerns, or questions that anyone may have. Feel free to contact me at any time.