Feb. 20, 2016

By Jake Maier ’17

Katie Miller, a junior backstroker and IM-er from Copley Ohio, is a mechanical engineering major. Here, she talks about marathon training and her favorite places on campus amongst other topics.

Q: Tell me about your hair donation to Locks of Love.

A: “It was a terrifying experience. Everyone always said I had good hair, so I decided I was going to donate it. They just cut all my hair off, a whole 11 inches.”

Katie Miller swam the 200 and 400 IM, as well as the 200 Back and 200 Fly at this year's ACC Championship meet.

Katie Miller swam the 200 and 400 IM, as well as the 200 Back and 200 Fly at this year’s ACC Championship meet.

Q: Who is your goofiest teammate?

A: “Nikki [Nicole] Smith, she just says the most random and obscure things and she is always smiling and laughing. Sometimes you have no idea why…she’s just smiling and laughing.”

Q: What are you studying at Notre Dame?

A: “I’m a mechanical engineer, I want to work in the healthcare field and make prosthetics. An interesting fact is that everyone in my family is an engineer. My extended family, my immediate family…we are all engineers.”

Q: Which of the seven dwarfs best describes you?

A: “I would say Happy, my mom always said to spread a little sunshine wherever you go. I like to think that I can spread my sunshine and make someone’s day a little brighter and a little better. I’m always happy about life, even when I fail a test or I haven’t slept all week. I’m not going to walk around with a sour look on my face just because I was up 3 hours before everyone else had to go to class. I just like to spread my sunshine.

Q: If you could be any Disney princess, which one would you be?

A: “Belle, not even a question. She has brown hair and I couldn’t pick a princess that didn’t have the same hair color as me. No one thinks of a brunette Cinderella or a brunette Arielle. Everyone wanted to be Arielle growing up because she was the little mermaid and hung out in the sea. But she has red hair and I don’t! I also love the story of Beauty and the Beast. Plus there is a singing teacup; who doesn’t love a singing teacup?”

Q: Do you have any musical talents?

A: “I played the piano for about 5 years, I can still play, but I only play at home if there is time. I do like to play with my mom at home when time permits. I still know how to read music. My hands still remember some of the bridges for the song I played at my last rehearsal. I have no idea what those notes mean though.”

Q: Favorite swimmer of all-time?

A: “I really look up to Janet Evans. I used to hear about her all the time when I was growing up. She was like a little energizer bunny that just kept going and going and going. It’s really impressive that her records stood for so long, before tech-suits came along and all of that. She proved that hard work will get you where you want to go. I’ve always looked up to her as a role model.”

Q: Where is your favorite study spot?

A: “I often do my homework in McGlinn 2-4 or the kitchen area. I always work with other people so we can talk through problems together which helps me learn the material. I like doing my homework in the athlete area of CoMo the best. That’s where I go during the day, but usually I have to do my homework with other people so I study in McGlinn.”

Q: What’s your favorite building on campus?

A: “It has to be the Basilica. When you go in there the sun comes through all the stained glass windows and takes your breath away for a moment. I was there for Easter last year and the sun was streaming through the windows and it was breathtaking. When I see that I usually can’t believe that I’m at a place or a university like this. All these beautiful works of art surround you and it takes your breath away. It’s super humbling that this school can make my faith such an important part of my life; it’s really awesome. No matter what you believe this place will support you.”

Q: What sport would you do other than swimming?

A: “Beach volleyball, I think that would be so much fun. If it had to be a sport at Notre Dame it would probably be diving. The divers do some crazy stuff. If I grew up without a fear of free falling – I’m just afraid of falling 3 meters into the water – it would be another cool sport to do. But if I could do any sport it would be beach volleyball, because that would also mean I have to live by the ocean.”

Q: Is it true that you once completed a half marathon?

A: “One of my really good friends in high school and I decided to run a half marathon and cross it off our bucket list. We continued to swim during the fall, but my club team did a lot of cross training so we were used to three or four mile runs. So we started doing six mile runs maybe three days a week for about a month and then we did an eight and a half mile run to do some long distance – which was the most I had ever run before by about two miles. Then we figured we were in good enough shape and we just did it. The one fatal mistake we made was not stopping to get water, but it was the perfect day for running. Halfway through I got hit with dehydration and slowed way down.”

Q: Do you think you would do a triathlon?

A: “Yes! I really want to do boxing or kick-boxing, that looks like a lot of fun and gets you into really good shape.”