John Glenn Solo Diver Aiming To Stand Alone Atop Finals Podium

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

January 27, 2022

Jamie Miller is getting used to working alone.

As the lone diver on the Bay City John Glenn swimming & diving team, he spends his practice time by himself, working on the dives he hopes can get him a few steps higher on this year’s Finals podium.

“I’ve worked with plenty of really great coaches, and I’ve been to so many good camps,” Miller said. “I know a lot, and I actually know how to coach. I have a little TV, a little TiVo that records my dives, so 20 seconds later, I can walk up and watch it and see how to fix it. I’m a huge introvert, so I don’t have to talk to anyone and don’t have to worry about anyone.”

So far, so good for the senior, who is off to a strong start after finishing sixth at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals a year ago. 

He recently won the Tri-Cities championship at Saginaw Valley State, finishing with a two-day, 11-dive total of 454.5, which would have placed third at this past year’s Finals. He’s also broken the Oscoda pool record, scoring 273.55 for six dives to break the previous mark set in 1989.

“I think it’s going pretty well,” Miller said. “I had had a lot of time off because of COVID, but because of how hard I worked in middle school and my early years of high school, I just jumped right back in where I left off.”

Miller has been diving since seventh grade, although he discovered his skill and love for the sport almost by accident.

Bay City John Glenn diving“I joined the swim team because it was the only sport I could pick that wasn’t a scary contact sport,” he said. “I started swimming and I got a really bad cramp and was like, ‘This kind of sucks. I’m going to try this other thing.’ Then I actually started to like it.”

He began working with Bay Aquatics Diving and coach Janet Beattie, which he said helped him to grow a lot as a diver. While the pandemic forced him away from the club, the lessons learned have helped him continue to improve.

He was also fortunate to have a strong teammate in Trevor Post, who placed fourth as a senior at the 2021 Finals.

“Trevor’s the kind of guy – you know the saying, ‘Work hard, because someone out there is working harder than you?’ Trevor was that guy, and I got to dive with him every day,” Miller said. “We got so competitive, and if we weren’t on the same team, we would not have been as successful as we were.”

Without Post pushing him daily at practice, Miller said it can sometimes be tough to be self-motivated. But anytime he needs a push, he looks up at the record board in front of him.

“The record I’m trying to beat this year at the schools, it’s been there since 2004, it’s 300 points,” he said. “My highest score is 275, so it’s a reach. We’ve only had two dual meets, and I’ve only got to dive at one of them. We have eight more, so that’s what I’m really going for. It’s going to be close.”

Miller is not only looking to motivate himself every day, he’s also constantly having to get over the fear that creeps in when he’s on the board and prepares to dive. While he considers the sport to be very fun, he’s not afraid to admit it is also “horrifying.”

“I have to get over it every single time I get in the water,” Miller said. “It’s kind of like diving is like a constant mental battle. It’s not a physical sport, it’s all mental. You have to convince yourself of things. You can really learn a lot about your mind with diving.”

As he learns about himself and how to stay motivated, Miller does have a greater goal ahead of him. Only three of the top eight divers from last year’s Division 3 Finals graduated, including two of the top five. Miller has crunched the numbers, and as he sees it, if all remains the same, he will move into the top three this year. 

He’s not satisfied with that, though.

“I think the least I can shoot for is top three,” he said. “I should be shooting for first. I should just continue forward, shooting for first for the rest of the season. I know a couple kids who are really good. If nobody (else) just completely shines in their first year and beats me, then I should take third if everything stays the same. But I’m going to shoot for first.”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Bay City John Glenn’s Jamie Miller dives during a meet this winter. (Middle) Miller, leading a line of divers on the pool deck, recently won the Tri-Cities diving competition. (Photos by Kent Miller.)

Picking Up Seconds All Over, Cranbrook Picks Up Points to Climb Podium

By Jason Schmitt
Special for

March 11, 2023

ROCHESTER — Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood edged top-seeded East Grand Rapids by one hundredth of a second Saturday in the 200-yard medley relay at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Oakland University.

The Cranes celebrated their victory in the meet’s first event like they had just won the state championship. Little did everyone in attendance know that when all was said and done, that razor-thin margin would in fact be the difference, as Cranbrook captured its first Finals title since 2017. The Cranes totaled 271 team points, beating out the two-time reigning champion Pioneers (259) by 12 points. 

“I’m one of those coaches, I score out the psych sheet, I score out the entries and EGR was 11 points up on us coming into today,” Cranbrook head coach Paul Ellis said. “(Winning) that first relay, that was a 12-point swing. That got the snowball rolling, and we continued to feed off that and go fast.”

Freshman A.J. Farner, senior Ethan Schwab and sophomores Sean Lu and Joe Wiater got the win for Ellis’s team. Schwab and Wiater swam the top splits in their legs, with Wiater rallying his team to victory in the final freestyle leg.

“That win by one one-hundredth really set the tone for the meet,” Schwab said. “It was great to come out with my team and have fun in the first relay and then bring the energy into the next event.”

Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. Schwab brought the energy to all four of his swims at the Finals. The Michigan-bound Schwab won three of the races he entered and set LP Division 3 Finals records in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke this weekend. His time of 1:48.23 in Saturday’s IM beat the record he set just a day earlier in the prelims. He then finished with a 54.31 in the 100 breaststroke, beating out Wayland’s Zachery Jenison by more than two seconds but falling just short of his record-setting time of 54.04, set in Friday’s preliminary round.

Schwab was named Swimmer of the Meet by the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for his efforts, which also included a runner-up finish as part of the 400 freestyle relay.

Cranbrook’s 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Robbie Sarle, senior Christos Tzoumakas, Wiater and junior Will Farner beat out top-seeded and 2022 event champion Grand Rapids Christian for the win. It was one of four victories for the Cranes.

“It was just a phenomenal team effort from top to bottom,” Ellis said. “Everyone did their part. Everyone nickel and dimed their way into the top 16 and nickel and dimed their way by moving up a little bit in each final swim that we had.

“We had huge swims from Will Farner, A.J. Farner and Sean Lu. Joe Wiater was injured last year. He came back and was consolation in the 50 and top eight in the breaststroke. It was a whole bunch of guys from all different classes that did it for us. I’m thrilled with everything they did.”

East Grand Rapids, which came in having won the Division 3 title in both 2021 and 2022, actually took slim leads over Cranbrook after eight events and again after 10. Junior Carter Kegle won the 500 freestyle for the second-straight year, beating out Plainwell freshman Sam Harper by five seconds. The win helped his team take a 10-point lead over Cranbrook. Kegle would finish second in the 200 freestyle and helped his Pioneers win the 400 freestyle relay to end the day. Junior Micah Spitzley and seniors Ted Turnage and Logan McCahill joined Kegle on the winning relay.

“We swam great. We broke three or four school records, and we were in the hunt,” East Grand Rapids head coach Milton Briggs said. “Give credit to Cranbrook. They beat us in that (medley) relay and they won the 200 free relay, which they weren’t supposed to. They had a great second day. They swam out of their minds. They’re a very, very good team.”

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. Grand Rapids Christian junior Ben Sytsma won the 50 freestyle and finished runner-up in the 100 freestyle. He won the 50 in a time of 20.57 seconds, edging Manistee junior Alec Lampen by three tenths of a second. 

Lampen rebounded to win the 100 backstroke in a time of 50.30 seconds. 

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown rolled to victory in the 1-meter diving competition. The junior scored 522.25, outdistancing second-place Gryffin Porter of Haslett (428.75). DeWitt freshman Carson Reynolds was third with 419.65 points.

Fremont senior Matheus Garcia won the 100 freestyle, touching the wall in a time of 44.75 seconds. He beat out Sytsma (44.96) and McCahill (45.20).

The state saw a glimpse of the future, as a pair of freshmen walked away with championships. Otsego’s Liam Smith won the 100 butterfly, and Adrian’s London Rising was tops in the 200 freestyle. Smith entered the weekend with the top-seeded time but was second after Friday’s preliminaries to Holland senior James Baer.

“I always put pressure on myself,” said Smith, who won the final with a time of 49.74. “I came in as the 1-seed so I felt like I had to finish as the 1-seed. But at the same time, I have three more years to come in and do it all over again. It feels awesome.”

Rising, who was second to Kegle after the prelims, said he was stressing out heading into the prelims and all night Friday. 

“All night, I was just visualizing my race,” said Rising, who also finished third in the 100 butterfly. “When I came back, I was more nervous than excited but after I won, it was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Today, I just focused on myself and didn’t underestimate anybody. I thought it was going to be a good race, and it was.”

Holland Christian finished third with 161 points, and Adrian (135) and Grand Rapids Christian (110) rounded out the top five.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS Cranbrook Kingswood’s Ethan Schwab launches into one of his races Saturday at Oakland University. (Middle) Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. (Below) Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)