Boys Swimmer of the Year: Record-breaking year for Sherando’s Milburn

Sherando's Daniel Milburn broke six school records in his senior season. Milburn made all-state in three different events. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — Daniel Milburn had a season to remember for Sherando’s swimming team.

The senior finished his career with all but two records at the school. He is a part of nine school records.

“It’s exciting,” Milburn said of the records. “I know a few kids that are coming up to Sherando later. I’m waiting to see if they are able to break any of my records.”

Milburn, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2016-17 Boys Swimmer of the Year, had a chance for two new records entering the state meet this season. So he chose to swim in the 100-yard freestyle and in the preliminary swim he broke the record with a 48.46. He finished eighth in the finals to earn All-state. It was only the third time all season that Milburn had swam the 100 freestyle.

“Going into the state championship meet he was seeded 15th in that event,” Sherando coach Joe Knight said. “Going into championship meet he didn’t even have that many opportunities to swim that event and in his USA swims he doesn’t focus on freestyles and he certainly doesn’t focus on the 100 free. In my mind I thought it was pretty much a gamble, but he was great.”

Milburn also had a shot at the 50 free record. He swam first in the 200 free relay, which meant the time would count toward a school record. He swam a time of 23.54, just 0.18 seconds off the school record.

The other individual record eluding Milburn is the 100 breaststroke. His top career time is 1:02.53 and the record is 1:02.38.

Milburn’s main event is the 200 individual medley and he finished seventh in the state meet in that event. His preliminary swim time of 1:58.78 broke his own school record.

Along with teammates Ayman Ibrahim, Hunter Mayo and David Restrepo, Milburn swam in the 200 free and 400 free relays.

The 200 free relay team finished seventh for another all-state honor. They swam a 1:31.47 in the preliminaries for another school record and did the same in the 400 free. The quartet finished 11th in the 400 free and their preliminary time of 3:25.81 broke their old school record.

“I like relays more,” Milburn said. “I get more pumped up for the relays. I get more pumped up for the high school meets. I’m swimming for my team and I do better.”

In all Milburn broke six school records this season. However, it wasn’t without some obstacles.

Milburn was sick for several weeks and said he didn’t perform as well in the Conference 21 West and Region 4A West meets as he would have liked.

Milburn also made a tough decision at the start of 2017. He decided to stop training in Manassas Park with his club team, Nation’s Capital Swim Club, which is coached by former Olympian Jeremy Linn.

The team practiced eight times a week, including two-a-days on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in which Milburn would get up at 3 a.m. to head to Manassas Park before school. He said all the hours and travel eventually began to take its toll on him.

“I was spending 21-24 hours in the pool and 16-18 hours driving and I wasn’t really enjoying it like I had before,” Milburn said. “I just figured I’d finish with the high school team.”

Knight said that for all of the success Milburn had his greatest legacy might be showing that you can be on a club swim team and swim in high school as well.

Last year Milburn’s father and Knight worked out a plan so that Daniel could do both. They came up with new rules, in which swimmers have to practice with the team at least three times every two weeks. Knight said he expects others to follow in Milburn’s footsteps over the years to come.

Milburn said that he’s probably not going to swim in college. He said he wanted to take a break from swimming. He’s on Sherando’s track team this year for the first time and said he’s interested in being on a triathlon club team in college.

Milburn’s enjoyed a lot of success in the pool at Sherando and said it was a lot of fun.

“Just doing well with my team, that’s the most fun we could have had,” Milburn said. “Everyone worked hard to do the best for each other and it made it fun. That’s probably what I’m going to remember most.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com