Johnstown’s Miles to swim for Saint Rose

Johnstown senior Emily Miles, center, signs her National Letter of Intent to swim for The College of Saint Rose next fall on Feb. 13. Looking on are her father, Richard and mother Melissa along with club coach Mike Schanthel, back row, left, College of Saint Rose swim coach Keith Murray and Johnstown Director of Athletics James Robare. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

JOHNSTOWN — Emily Miles will be trading in her trademark purple and gold Crocs that she wears to honor Johnstown High School for the black and gold of the College of Saint Rose this fall.

On Feb. 13, Miles signed her National Letter of Intent to swim for the NCAA Division II Golden Knights as they battle for the Northeast-10 Conference championship.

“My friend Sophie [Frenyea] got me into wearing Crocs now I have every color of the rainbow,” Miles said laughing. “It is just like a thing wearing one of each color so I represent the team colors.”

Miles is coming off a solid season in the pool for the Fonda-Johnstown girls team last fall and was a Foothills Council all-star in the 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, the 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. She was also named the Most Outstanding Swimmer, Most Dedicated and received the Coaches Award. She was also named the Channel 13 Athlete of the Week during the season.

Saint Rose aquatics director and swimming and diving coach Keith Murray said Miles has been on their radar for a while.

“My assistant coaches about a year ago, before I was even thinking about recruiting her, were telling me to watch her,” Murray said. “One of them was a club coach and they have been watching her for years. They told me to keep an eye on her. We put the feelers out there that we were interested.”

Miles paid the College of Saint Rose campus in Albany a visit and knew it would be a good fit for her.

“Everything is very nice. It is classic but up to date,” she said. “I heard their swim program is really good and they are Division II so I figured I would try for it. The program I plan on studying is number one there, Criminology — Criminal Justice, Behavior and Law.”

Miles is currently 16th in her class with an overall average of 90 for all four years at JHS.

“To me, it is important that they be interested in the school first because of everything we have to offer academically,” Murray said. “If we fit that mold then we have the icing on the cake with the swimming and the athletics. That is what works best for me and the ones who go out of their way to contact me because they want to go to the school more than I want them to go to the school are special.”

Miles has been a member of the FoJo swim team since seventh grade but has come up through the ranks of competitive swimming through the local programs.

“I started competitive swimming when I was 9 years old and I am 17 now,” she said. “I used to swim on the flying fish at the YMCA before going to the Amsterdam Sea Rams a couple years ago to swim for coach Mike [Schanthal].”

Club swimming has provided the opportunity for Miles and her teammates to see other competition and observe what other swimmers are doing to prepare for the meets.

“You go to different meets and you meet swimmers from different regions from New York City to Canada,” she said. “You get to see how they practice different than you do and you get to experience different officials. Each meet is definitely different.”

Miles was quick to thank her parents and coaches for their support along the way.

“I definitely have to thank my parents, Richard and Melissa Miles and coach Mike [Schanthal],” she said. “They have pushed me to where I am today and I could not have gotten here without them. They kept saying don’t give up and follow your heart. We are always going to be proud of you no matter what whether you have a good race or not.”

Miles will take some time off to enjoy her final months of high school before getting ready to attend Saint Rose.

“I take about two months off during the spring season and that is about it,” she said.

Miles is looking forward to continuing to improve her skills under coach Murray at St. Rose.

“He is very outgoing and definitely speaks his mind,” Miles said. “He is super nice and always there. He doesn’t just focus on one swimmer, he focuses on everyone.

Murray said Miles will be a welcome addition to the Golden Knights squad and will have an immediate impact.

“I think she has untapped potential and is going to contribute more than she thinks. She is a better swimmer than she gives herself credit for, too,” Murray said. “We are a small team this year. She is going to come in and contribute right away and be valuable all four years. That is what a lot of kids are looking for. We want the kids to succeed. They are not just another number to us.”