Olympic champion and American swimmer Cody Miller is taking a victory lap.
Now Miller is out of the swimming pool and taking time to plan his wedding with fiancee Ali Dewitt, prepare for a press tour and, according to Twitter, eat pizza for breakfast.
But with all that on his plate, the 24-year-old took the time Monday afternoon to speak to members of the Sandpipers of Nevada club swim team at the Desert Breeze Aquatic Facility.
“I don’t really think it’s fully soaked in yet. I’m just kind of living on a high right now,” he said, hundreds of noisy young fans packed in bleachers a few feet away. “When I’m at home everything feels normal, but the second I walk outside and see people it’s kind of crazy.”
Miller, a veteran of the Sandpipers and the Palo Verde High School swim teams, was also honored by Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager. She proclaimed Monday as Cody Miller Day.
Standing with his newly won Olympic medals hanging from his neck, his long dark hair spilling out from a backward snapback hat, Miller accepted a ceremonial key to the Strip.
Afterward, he signed shirts and snapped selfies with fans. Still basking in victory’s afterglow, his mind was far from the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“That would be great, but we’ll take it one year at a time,” he said.
In regard to accusations that fellow American swimmer Ryan Lochte filed a false robbery report during the Olympics, Miller said Lochte, 32, “is a good teammate, and a good guy” who “just made a mistake.”
“It’s been overpublicized and the media has latched onto it,” Miller said of the incident. “People need to focus on the 26 first-time Olympic swimmers that all came home with medals.”
A swimmer since he was 8 years old, Miller’s journey to becoming an international victor has been turbulent at times, but to many that only bolsters his accomplishments.
For most of Miller’s life, his father was estranged from the family and battling addictions. At age 14, Miller was diagnosed with a rib deformity compounded by mild asthma.
Having overcome those obstacles, Miller took time Monday to publicly thank the Sandpipers’ head coach and CEO.
“I wouldn’t have these medals around my neck if it wasn’t for Ron Aitken,” he said. “I grew up swimming in this pool.”
Miller is the first Sandpiper to make an Olympic team, and his feat has boosted the confidence of rising swimmers.
Erica Sullivan, a 16-year-old Sandpiper and national competitor, said Miller has put Southern Nevada on the map.
“Not a lot of people see Vegas as a swimming city,” she said. “It’s good to know we’re starting to be seen as one of those clubs because of Cody.”
Contact Michael Scott Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3861. Find @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.