PLYMOUTH — Kenzie Miller is discovering it can be a little lonely at the top.
The rest of the Plymouth girls swim team ended its season with a fourth-place finish at last weekend’s Warsaw Sectional, and even junior diver Alayna Holmquest wrapped up her season at the Penn Diving Regional Tuesday, but Miller remains in the PHS pool, swimming endless laps to keep sharp for the IHSAA State Finals this weekend at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.
Preliminaries take place Friday at 6 p.m. with finals and consolations proceeding Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.
“In the middle of the season when everybody just wants to go home I have to think about state and think about the end of the season,” said Miller. “There are a few people that keep me motivated and keep me going throughout the year that I have to compete against. I don’t like to get beat so I’ve got to keep that in mind.”
Miller advanced out of Warsaw with dual championships in both the 200-yard Individual Medley and the 100-yard backstroke, clocking respective times of 2:04.72 and 56.77. That IM time shattered the Warsaw Sectional record of 2:05.33 — a record set by Miller at the 2009-10 tournament — and earned her the top seed time in the state this weekend.
It was also a major breakthrough for the U.S. Nationals qualifier and Texas Christian University recruit.
“For three seasons now Kenzie has been working with the 200 IM, and the breast stroke has been one of her main focuses in that,” said Plymouth girls head swim coach Chelsea Bramfeld. “It’s a tricky event. It’s really tough; it takes a lot of guts to swim it because it is literally an all-out sprint of four different strokes that uses different muscles. She has been working each of those and focusing on each of those individually throughout the season, and it was really exciting to watch her break that barrier that she’s been at the last couple of seasons.”
This weekend’s meet marks the fourth straight season Miller has qualified for the for the state championships as she finished sixth in the IM and seventh in the back last year. She earned state cuts in four events as a freshman and sophomore, going 11th in the backstroke and 100 freestyle in 2008-09 as well as serving as a dual anchor on Plymouth’s sectional-championship medley relay and 400 free relay teams, and qualifying in the backstroke and IM in addition to the medley relay and 200 free relays as a freshman.
“I think it’s pretty cool that I’ve been able to go all four years and get that experience,” said Miller. “Each year I got progressively better, and now I’m seeded really good and I think this year’s going to be really awesome.”
Miller looks to wrap up a storied career in style at IUPUI, and swim fans can watch a live broadcast to Saturday’s championships at www.ihsaatv.org  starting at 1 p.m. And while it may be a little lonely at the top, there’s no place Miller would rather be.
“That’s where Kenzie wants to be. To be on the top she has built such a foundation,” said Bramfeld. “It comes with a lot of focus, it comes with a lot of self-motivation and drive and now that she’s here she’s sad to see that the other girls are done because we’re a team... but she’s right where she wants to be right now and that’s in the pool getting ready for state and getting excited.”