Miranda Tucker Makes Most of Move to Texas Ford Aquatics: ‘I Want to See How Far I Can Take it’

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Miranda Tucker was training alone. For two years, she wrote her own workouts and got in the water by herself, training as a professional swimmer.

At first it worked very well, but after a while, Tucker missed the team atmosphere that she had at the University of Michigan and also in the International Swimming League (ISL).

After two years of swimming with no coach and no team, Tucker joined the Texas Ford Aquatics club in Frisco, Texas, led by Coley Stickels.

“After training myself all alone for two years, I went to the ISL season 3 in 2021. I was able to meet Coley Stickles there and Dave Salo swimming for Tokyo. I had a great time. I know a little Japanese, so I was able to get along with everyone,” Miranda Tucker told Swimming World. “After that, I couldn’t keep training alone. Two years was the end of my motivation.
“I reached out to Coley and he mentioned he was starting a pro group himself. After a long time of preparing and giving it a trial period, I officially moved in here in May.”

So far, the move has paid dividends. Tucker had a stellar TYR Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville last week.

Tucker finished second in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.98). She was sixth in the 200 breast (2:31.53). Both swims qualified her officially for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials. She also took second in the 50 breaststroke with a best time of 31.29.

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Miranda Tucker. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

“Personal best. It was a huge celebration but at the same time, I had my worst finish ever. The wall wasn’t where I expected it,” Miranda Tucker said. “It was both a very successful meet, but with a lot of things I can still work on, which I am taking as a positive. Seeing I can go 1:07 with only a day’s rest before the meet is a huge relief and it gives me a lot of inspiration to keep working.”

Especially in her 200 breast.

“My 200 I got sixth. It has been a long time since I had my best time. But I went all out and tried to hold on. I couldn’t hold on, but the way I swam it gave me hope for the future. Hopefully with a good taper, that death at the end of the race, won’t happen,” she said.

It was a performance that showed Tucker was back on track returning to the world’s elite in the breaststroke.

But her move to Frisco didn’t start so smoothly.

“So, 2022 was the craziest year for me. I did my trial period in February in Frisco. But I fell ill at the end. When I got home I was diagnosed with with Pneumomediasteinem and Pneumoparacardium — so I basically blew a hole in my lung,” Tucker said. “The air went into my chest cavity. Similar to a collapsed lung but it was a pretty rare thing. So I couldn’t swim for two months.”

It was something Tucker thought was related to her asthma, rather than something as serious as it ended up being.

“Being an asthmatic I am used to breathing issues. But it definitely taught me not to overwork. I took it too far and coughed a little too hard and got a little hole in my lung. I thought I could just sleep it off for a couple days but I went to Urgent Care and they sent me to the ER. I couldn’t even laugh because it hurt to laugh. It was so ironic. Of all the things to happen. Definitely was a hard lesson learned,” Miranda Tucker said. “I was almost bed-ridden for a month.”

If that wasn’t enough, Tucker broke her foot a few months later.

“I have tried to see a lot of positive in it. Breaking my foot means I had to learn to train in different ways. It was near my pinky toe, so I was able to squat using my heels and things like that,” she said.

So after all of that, what made her continue?

“It is just the love of the sport and how badly I want to see how far I can take it. It is really hard to find an elite swimmer who is satisfied with their results. They think they could do better, even if they win gold. For me it is a career thing. I have been through a lot of different swim programs and tried a lot of things and my love has kept me going despite all of the injuries and everything,” Miranda Tucker said. “I always have this thought in my mind that I still love racing and love giving all you’ve got in the water. And the idea that there is still something in my that I am ready to tap into.

“If I have reached that peak after 2024 I will be satisfied.”

That motivation has gotten her through some extremely tough times when the physical pain and mental toll add up.

“I have definitely had my moments where I am miserable and want to be done. But that is also were Texas Ford Aquatics came in. I was on the verge of retirement when I got this opportunity. It all feels almost new to me. I have been swimming for 17 years and it still feels new,” Miranda Tucker said. “It is the love and a little bit of stubbornness. I didn’t want quit when I had something in me. I was always kind of a loner in swimming, and that is not a negative thing. I love swimming by myself. I work on what I want to work on. Those two years, at the beginning, it was amazing. I was writing my own workouts and very diligent. But it gets tiring.

“It was a slow burn that started to dwindle and it got to the point where I was just hanging on. Being around this team reinvigorated my love of swimming.”

 

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