GREEN RIVER — Michael Richmond, a 2019 graduate of Green River High School and current standout swimmer for Midland University, continues to prove why he’s one of the best every time he gets in the water.
In his first season with the Warriors, Michael has already been crowned a two-time individual All-American, three-time relay All-American, Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference champion, and earned Male Freshman of The Year on his team.
“Michael is a great competitor,” said Ryan Bubb, head coach of Midland University men’s swim team.
“What I appreciate most about him is his ability to lead. That’s a really big focus we have in our program. Not only do we try and recruit great swimmers but also people who are going to be leaders in the classroom and on the pool deck.”
“In the time that I have gotten to know Michael, I’ve learned that I can always count on him to bring a great attitude and a tremendous work ethic every single day.”
Before even stepping foot on campus, coach Bubb knew the level of talent Michael was bringing with him.
During his four-year career with the Wolves, Michael is a four-time state champion and has been voted first-team all-conference and first-team all-state all throughout high school.
Two of his four state titles came during his sophomore season when he won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly. His other two championships came two years later as a senior when he won the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly for a second time.
According to Coleen Seiloff, Michael’s former coach at GRHS, Michael currently holds four individual school records and one pool record. His individual records include the 200-yard individual medley, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly, and the 100-yard freestyle. His current pool record is in the 500-yard freestyle.
Before becoming one of the top swimmers to come out of Wyoming, Michael’s journey in the water started when he was only 8 years old after he decided to join a local USA club team called the Sweetwater Aquatics Team.
Since then, he has worked his way up the ranks and is now only two seconds shy of qualifying for the Olympic trials.
“That’s definitely a goal of mine,” he said when asked about making a run for the Olympics.
“I still have a lot to work on to help improve my times, but getting there would definitely be a dream come true.”
Next to representing his home country on the world’s biggest stage, another goal of Michael’s when it comes to his passion is to become a national champion.
“I’ve wanted that for a long time,” he said. “After all the time and effort I’ve put into the sport, capturing a national championship would be the ultimate reward.”
Similar to his first goal, when it comes to the latter, Michael is in arms reach of turning that dream into a reality.
After piecing together a strong regular season, the freshman of the year led his team to a first-place finish at this year’s KCAC conference championships.
During this time, Michael competed in three individual events and finished inside the top four in each of them.
He closed out his first collegiate conference championship with a first-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke, a second-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, and a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly. He was also on two relay teams that went on to place first as well.
“That was really cool,” Michael said. “I knew we were a great team, but to win the conference and do so in our home pool ... that was really special.”
Not long after being crowned conference champions, Michael and his teammates rode that wave of momentum into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships hosted in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Despite qualifying in a total of seven events, Michael was only allowed to compete in three individual events and did so in strong fashion.
While performing on the biggest stage of his young career, Michael’s best finish came in the 200-yard backstroke, where he placed sixth.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, this year’s Male Freshman of The Year also went on to place eighth in the 500 freestyle where he set a new school record with a time of 4:36.45.
During his third and final individual event, Michael placed 14th in the 200-yard freestyle and from there, he continued to find success in his relay races.
According to Michael, he got fourth in the 800 freestyle relay, third in the 400 medley relay and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay.
“That was really awesome,” he said. “Going in, I knew the competition at nationals was going to be the best I’d ever seen. If I wanted to be successful, I knew I needed to dial in and compete at a high level and that’s exactly what I did.”
By the time the weekend was over, Michael and his teammates racked up enough points to deliver Midland a fourth-place finish.
“That was incredible,” he said. “Over 20 teams competed at nationals and to place as high as we did was a huge accomplishment.”
Despite piecing together an unforgettable freshman season, coach Bubb is highly confident that Michael can come back even stronger next year.
“I feel like Michael is just now starting to scratch the surface,” he said. “Now that he’s gotten a taste of success at the next level, I really think his confidence and his drive to get better each day will continue to grow.”
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Outside of being an accomplished student-athlete, Michael is also enlisted in the Wyoming National Guard.
When asked what made him decide to enlist, he said, “I always knew that I wanted to join the military, I just didn’t know specifically what branch. ... It wasn’t until I got into contact with a National Guard recruiter, I set my sights on that.”
According to Michael, he enlisted Jan. 9, 2019, and graduated army basic combat training a few months later in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, on Aug. 15, 2019.
Michael also clarified that even though he does his drilling once a month during the school year in Mead, Nebraska, he’s still with the Wyoming National Guard.
“I drill in Mead during the school year because it’s a 12-hour drive Green River to where I go to school in Fremont,” he said.
However, now that Michael is back home in Wyoming, he is currently drilling in Rock Springs.
According to Michael, to fill his requirements, he will continue drilling once a month and two weeks out of the summer up until the end of his six-year contract.
Moving forward, on July 1, Michael plans to leave for Fort Sill in Oklahoma for seven weeks to complete his advanced individual training. From there, his plan is to transfer to the Nebraska National Guard and begin working in a new artillery unit.
When asked what it’s like being a full-time student-athlete most of the year and then going off and spending the majority of his summer with the National Guard, Michael responded, “It’s definitely a different feeling.”
“It takes a lot of hard work and great time management skills.”
According to Michael, during his time at Midland, he is double majoring in criminal justice and sociology and minoring in coaching.
Although these are the fields he elected to study, following college graduation, Michael said it’s a possibility that he will want to continue a career in the military.
“If that’s the case, my plan as of right now would be to reenlist with the National Guard and have a civilian job,” he said.