The alarm comes early for Emily Lock.
But the Skyline senior swimmer is not alone, which is one reason why she sets her wake-up call for 5 a.m. most mornings. The competition in these waters are filled with sharks and Hornets and Pioneers and Dreadnaughts trying to swim their way to the top. Saline swimmers get up early. In Dexter and over at Pioneer and Huron swimmers are getting their laps in before school.
So Lock and her Skyline teammates roll out of bed at 5 a.m. and are swimming laps by 5:30 for a couple hour swim before school starts at 7:45 a.m. But that’s only the half of it – as the Eagles return to the pool in the late afternoon for another practice. That’s the schedule necessary for greatness and Emily Lock has certainly been great since she dove into the water at Skyline.
“It doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything other than homework and sleep,” said the All-American swimmer who also excels in the classroom with a 4.0 grade-point average. “But I’m used to it now.”
Lock’s strength is as a freestyler, both sprints and distance. Her best time in the 100 free is 51.97 seconds (set as a sophomore) and her best in the 200 free is 1 minute, 52.41 (set with her club team).
She was a member of the Skyline school-record 400-meter relay team (3:24.56) in 2015 and also was part of the school-record 200 freestyle relay (1:35.80).
Skyline Coach Maureen Isaac is glad to have someone as talented and versatile as Lock in and out of the water.
“Emily is a solid leader in the classroom and the pool,” says Isaac. “She has the ability to swim almost any event and she consistently does so to facilitate whatever is best for the team. Her work ethic is an inspiration to those around her.”
Lock’s career took off as soon as she put on the Skyline suit. As a freshman, she was a member of the All-State 200 freestyle relay team which finished eighth and helped lead the Eagles to a second-place finish in the 2014 Division 1 state finals.
As a sophomore, Lock played a key role on Skyline’s 2015 Division 1 state championship team.
“It was phenomenal,” she says of the school’s first state swimming title. “Everyone worked so hard and it was great to see that hard work pay off in the end. It was just an amazing feeling.”
The Eagles landed in fourth place last year in Division 1.
Lock and her teammates don’t take this recent success for granted. There are plenty of good swimming teams in the area and they realize that hard work got them to where they are and hard work is what will keep them where they are.
“It’s the product of a lot of hard work and dedication,” she says. “We push each other but we have fun doing it. There also is a family feeling and we are all friends and I think that helps too.”
Lock, who has earned All-American status on four Skyline relay teams, is currently swimming both freestyle relays and the medley relay this season. She also is a team captain for the Eagles, who are again considered one of the top teams in the state.
“I’ve loved how our team has come along,” says Lock, who is enjoying swimming a few different strokes this year to help the team reach its goals. “We struggled a little bit to get going but we are on track to do well at states. All of the freshman have stepped up and are contributing. We have a really strong sophomore class and everyone is working really hard.
“I think we have a good shot at being in the top five in the state again.”
The interest and talent level in swimming at Skyline continues to grow. Both the freshman and sophomore classes have produced not only quality but quantity.
“We like to see people come out for swimming, even if they don’t have a background in it because it’s so much more than swimming,” Lock says. “It’s about friendships and being part of a team. We all play a role and help each other and support one another.”
Lock first tipped her toe in the water with the Barton Hills Country Club team when she was very young but it wasn’t love at first stroke.
“I wasn’t very serious and I wasn’t very good,” she says, looking back at those early days in the water. “I think my parents did it initially so I could just learn to swim but I really liked the people and it kind of stuck so I kept doing it.”
Lock also played golf and tennis at Barton Hills and gave plenty of other sports a shot at grabbing her attention.
“I played every sport under the sun,” she said. “I played golf, tennis, soccer, basketball, cross country … I tried them all. But swimming was my favorite so the other ones eventually dropped off.”
And while it took Lock a few laps around the pool to get the hang of swimming, she quickly became good, then great, then state champion. She won a Michigan State Championship in the 50 freestyle at the age of 10 for the Club Wolverine Swim Club.
“That really convinced me that I wanted to put a lot of time into swimming,” said Lock, who was putting all of her attention into swimming by the time she reached Skyline High School.
And that dedication has paid off. She plans on swimming in college and is looking at a couple of different schools where she hopes to dive into a career in medicine.
“My ultimate goal is to go to medical school,” she says.
That’s going to require a lot of hard work. She may even have to set the alarm a little earlier to get there. But Emily Lock is used to both getting up early and putting in the work to reach her goals.
Emily Lock by the Numbers:
200 Free Relay 1:35.80
400 Free Relay 3:24.56
2015: 400 Free Relay
2015: Team champions
All American (Top 100 in the country)
2015: 200 Medley Relay
2015: 200 Free Relay
2015: 400 Free Relay
2016: 400 Free Relay