Juneau-Douglas swimming standout Tyler Mickelson played an important part in his team's second-place overall finish last season in the 2009 ASAA/Alaska Swimming and Diving Championships as a member of two first-place relay teams - the 200-meter freestyle and the state record-setting 200-meter medley. He also finished fourth and sixth in the state in the 100-meter butterfly and the 50-meter freestyle, respectively. Mickelson is back for his senior year, ready to improve his times and help his team in their pursuit of a state title.
What inspired you to try swimming in the first place?
"My parents put me in there at first when I was a wee lad, but then they couldn't keep me out of the pool. I guess I was just born with natural abilities. I've stayed with it because I have a bunch of friends in there and I thought it was a neat sport."
What's your favorite part about swimming?
"Probably just hanging out with my friends while exercising."
"Having to breathe in a certain pattern or hardly breathing at all - being hypoxic and what not. Thursdays are also tough. Practice starts at like 5:15 a.m., and that's not very nice."
Any sports or hobbies outside of swimming?
"I play baseball and I used to play soccer. Just video games and sledding, I don't really ski all that much."
Do you have any swimming idols that you look up to?
"Not really any Olympians or anything like that. They're just fast. I look up to my teammates for their integrity, determination, and for practicing every day."
Plans after high school?
"I think I might go to UAF to study to become a pilot."
How did that become an interest?
"I don't know. My best stroke is butterfly and I thought it would be pretty cool to fly."
Expectations for boys' swimming team this year?
"I expect them to perform to their best, show up to every practice and give Dimond a run for their money. I'm hoping we can be right up there at the end of the year."