Sometimes an athlete is so special, so unique in what he or she does, it’s best just to hand the microphone over to the coach and let them wax poetic. Who else knows the athlete better than the person who helps make them special and unique.
And while Lily is just 14 years old she has that special quality that already makes her unique. But don’t take our word for it.
“Lily is an up and comer,” says Club Wolverine Coach Gunnar Schmidt whose club team features a roster of special athletes. “She is already one of the brightest 14 and under swimmers in the state and zone. She was selected to attend the Central Zones Select camp this spring.
“We have asked her to grow up a lot this season. She was one of the youngest athletes at Junior National and now this sectional meet (in Texas). She is starting to look confident and comfortable racing at these big stages.”
Lily showed that her confidence is rising as her times are dropping.Club Wolverine won the 13-14 and Open Short Course State Championship last weekend at the University of Michigan in a meet that featured more than 900 athletes.
And Lily had a fantastic meet for Club Wolverine. She finished third overall in points in the 13-14 age group and won the 100 breaststroke. She competed in six individual events and had six podium finishes. And then she competed in five relays, with four finishing second, one (400 Medley Relay) touching first.
Earlier in the month, Club Wolverine took a group of 33 girls down to Texas for a sectional meet and finished first overall. They competed at the 2019 Speedo Sectional Series in College Station, Texas from Feb. 28 through March 3 and brought the championship trophy back to Ann Arbor.
Swimming against elite competition from all over the country, Lily finished 32nd in the 400 meter IM, 27th in the 200 meter breast and 21st in the 100 meter breast.
“The trip to Texas was a blast and not just for me,” she said. “Everyone was always excited and having fun which kept negative energy to a minimum. It was really great to spend time with my teammates and watch people achieve what they work really hard for.”
While in Texas, Lily achieved personal bests in the 400 yard IM, the 100 meter breaststroke, and the 100 yard freestyle.
“It was a really cool experience to travel all the way to Texas and win against teams we have never competed with before,” she said. “Staying in Michigan we often don’t get new competition, so it was a nice change.”
Lily joined Club Wolverine about five years ago. It was love at first splash.
“My biggest accomplishment so far has been attending Speedo Winter Junior Nationals,” she said. I love Club Wolverine because of the family-like environment and how supportive everyone is of each other.”
Lily is a freshman at Pioneer and enjoyed an outstanding rookie season with the Pioneers.
She swam two individual events at the state meet – the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke – and saved her best for last. She had personal bests in both events by multiple seconds and called it a “very exciting experience.”
Lily, the daughter of Johanna and Jess Cramer, says her club goals include achieving more Winter Junior National cuts or Summer Junior National cuts. At Pioneer, she hopes to continue to drop times, move up places and help her team compete at the state finals.
“My long-term goal is to swim in college,” she said. “As of now my heart isn’t set on one school, but I know I want to swim D1.”
That would certainly be special – and fitting.
Pioneer photos by Jodi Bullinger