Oswego High School has hosted swim royalty the past four years, harboring recent graduate and three-time state champion Georgia White. With her departure last year, the swim program is left to wonder who will take over the swimming crown.

Enter Austin Millard.

Millard, a sophomore, is already fielding collegiate offers, including one from the University of Iowa.

At just 16, Millard’s success is not unexpected, as he is a part of a family of diverse athletes. His dad was a basketball player at the University of  Iowa, and his brother is a football player at Augustana College. However, Millard’s success is not just due to genetics—it’s the mindset preached to him from a very early age.

“You don’t have to go around bragging,” Millard says. “You got to show it. It’s what I’ve always been told growing up in sports.”

What has he shown? He’s already proved himself to his older teammates, as he is ranked as a top-10 swimmer in the state. This propelled him into a leadership role.

“It puts the pressure on me,” Millard noted about his leadership responsibilities. “I have to be more mature than what I really am in order to push the older guys.”

That pressure can be a lot, especially on someone trying to balance school, sports, and a social life. With the pressure comes a way to cope with it, though—and funny enough, Millard needs a pool to do so.

Millard reminds me of Dory from “Finding Nemo.” Millard’s reaction to stress is quite similar to the fish. He’s just got to “swim it out.”

Every athlete, no matter how talented, has to put in work. Every athlete needs to keep grinding and beating on their craft, until it is perfectly formed like a chalice made by the hands of a silversmith. To say the least, it takes time. It’s going to take an extraordinarily long time to accomplish everything he wants to.

“Junior, senior year, thats my time to shine,” Millard says with a smile. “State championships, coming home with it all, state records, all that stuff.”

Most people can give statements such as these, but have no plan to achieve it. Many people will want something, but instead of doing, will wait for an act of God or for someone to just hand them what they want. Not Austin. Never Austin.

Millard does whatever it takes. If he can get to the pool, he can get the work in. If he can’t get to the pool, he’ll work out from home.

That goes for the summer, too. When his opponents are sleeping in, Millard is up early running and lifting.

Millard preaches dedication, balance in life, and, most importantly, knowing what you want. Why is knowing what you want most important? Because, in Millard’s words, “if you don’t know what you want, what are you striving for?”

Millard has a plan of attack, which goes along with that philosophy to help get him to state glory.

The state of mind which Millard experiences is second to none. His ability to visualize a goal, and then set out a series of steps to help get to the goal, is a skill which is very undervalued in today’s society. Millard doesn’t put it to waste.

The state meet is just around the corner. With an opportunity for greatness on the table, it’s time for him to trust himself, his abilities and his mindset.  

“That’s the hype I live for,” Millard exclaims. “That’s what I want.”

Even with all the hype, Millard keeps his cool, and keeps things in perspective.

“You can’t bank on sports,” Millard says humbly. “You never know.”

The humility Millard expresses is astounding. In the age of big egos and social media, Millard is like a breath of fresh air. There is no one more deserving, or more fit, to inherit the swimming crown here at OHS.

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