She still holds Tar Heel records for the 500 freestyle and 1650 freestyle.

And Saturday night Miller made local history by becoming the first female inducted into the Phoenixville Area Athletic Association "Hall of Fame" at the group's annual dinner meeting that was snowed out back on Dec. 6.

The dinner was held at the Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1 on Church Street.

Miller and former Major League Baseball star Andre Thornton were the special honorees for the evening. However, Thornton, who spent 20 years in professional baseball, including 11 with the Cleveland Indians, could not be present because of other obligations. They both received plaques from the organization.

Miller began her swimming career in the Independent and YMCA leagues after starting lessons at age 3. She started competing in meets at age 9 at the urging of her aunt and worked her way up the competitive ladder with the help of many sacrifices by her parents, Don and Kathleen.

Miller competed in a host of events, including the 500 free, 200 butterfly, 400 medley and 800 relay. She was named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year in 1994-95. She was named Most Outstanding Swimmer and league champion throughout her collegiate years. Miller was named to the 50th Anniversary Team at North Carolina.

"I want to thank all the people who helped me do what I love to do," Miller said in her speech. "Receiving this award is overwhelming. When I started, I never did it for the recognition. I appreciate the sacrifices of my family."

She remembered winning her first medal, a third-place bronze, at the Sesame Place Splash in the 50 breaststroke.

At age 13, she moved to a more competitive team at the Upper Main Line YMCA. Her daily workouts increased to 10 times per week..

"I challenged myself at practice," she said.

At age 15, she attended the Olympic Trials, which she termed "intimidating," with the likes of Janet Evans on hand. She finished eighth out of 40 participants.

Along with all the accolades, Miller did suffer through some injuries but battled to overcome them in the water. She participated in the World Games in Sicily in 1997, which she termed the highlight of her career. She continues to swim today in the local Masters Division.

"There were injuries, illnesses and heartbreaks," said Miller, who also praised her two sisters, Denise and Amy, for their support. "My parents helped me pursue my dream. They drove hours to sit all day in a hot pool to watch me swim for two minutes."

Thornton smacked 214 career home runs with the Indians and earned a berth on the American League All-Star team twice during his career.

He received the Golden Tomahawk, Man of the Year and Roberto Clemente Award and was inducted into the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame and Cleveland Hall of Fame.

DINNER BITS: Chapter president Al Dvorak gave the welcome and handled the Hall of Fame ceremony. Francis "Bumper" O'Neill served as toastmaster. ... Paul Shoemaker directed the Memorial ceremony for deceased members.

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