By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Michael Griffith chose wisely.
Whether he knew it at the time or not.
The Troy senior — a four-time district swimming qualifier and the last Trojan to qualify for the Division I state swimming meet — recently signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his swimming career at Hanover College, an NCAA Division III school in Hanover, Indiana competing in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
In the end, Griffith’s choice came down to Hanover and Urbana University — which, on April 21, announced that it was closing permanently after the spring 2020 semester. Fortunately for Griffith, his decision was already made before that news dropped.
“I had it between two colleges for about two months before I made my final decision — the other one was Urbana,” he said. “I decided before they shut down, though, that I wanted to go to Hanover. It’s a good thing I picked where I did.”
And for Griffith, Hanover’s similarity to his home was what sealed the decision.
“Growing up in Troy, there’s always been a sense of community and family,” Griffith said. “And Hanover had that same feel. That’s why I wanted to be there.
“It feel good (to have the signing out of the way). It’s a big sense of relief.”
Griffith, who plans to major in zoology and minor in ecology, qualified for the D-I district swimming meet all four years in his high school career. And during his sophomore season, he qualified for the D-I state meet, the first time a swimmer for Troy’s boys team had done so since the 2007-08 season.
That feat came the year after Griffith decided to focus solely on swimming, another choice that paid off for him, as he also ran cross country as a freshman.
“With the decision to focus on swimming, I decided that if I wanted to be good enough at either of the sports, I had to put all my attention towards one or the other if I wanted to pursue a collegiate career,” Griffith said. “And I think swimming was the right choice for me. It was just a sport that I’ve done since I was seven years old, so I felt that I should continue it through.”
And though Griffith didn’t make it back to state after his sophomore season, the fierce competition to get there in the area has made him a better athlete every step of the way.
“The competition, especially for our area in Ohio, has been insane,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure getting to race the people I’ve gotten to race in our area. It’s just packed full of talent, and it’s been a joy to race some of the kids I’ve been around.”
Of course, the end of his senior year has been a strange one. But with schools closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Griffith has still been doing what he can to prepare for swimming for Hanover.
“I’m just looking forward to my college season with the Panthers, now that high school is over,” Griffith said. “Without having a pool, it’s been a little difficult (staying in swimming shape). So I’ve picked up running again to try to keep my cardio there, and I work out from home as much as I can.
“I’ll be happy when I can finally get back into the water.”
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com.
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