Once Lilly King rises out of the water for the final time as a Hoosier, once she celebrates that final victory, IU will be losing the greatest swimmer in the history of the program.
Though, it isn’t going to take the Hoosiers very long to find a replacement. In fact, Coach Ray Looze already has one, and she has yet to come to Bloomington.
And she’s already broken King’s high school record in the 100 breast stroke.
Emily Weiss is a high school senior at Yorktown High School in Yorktown, IN. She swims the 50, 100 and 200 meter breast stroke, the same races as Lilly King, along with the 200 individual medley.
With a 58.4 second time in the 100 breast stroke, Weiss took down King’s record in the 100 breast stroke, setting a new national high school record. It was a time that, according to Swim Swam, would have placed her fifth in the nation at the most recent NCAA championships.
Weiss is ranked as the fourth overall high school swimmer in the class of 2019 by Swim Swam, and she’s committed to IU.
“At first, I definitely wanted to go far away from home," Weiss said. "I’ve lived in Indiana my whole life, and I just wanted something different. I just really enjoyed that what the IU coaching staff does is they obviously train the team as a whole, but they specialize to you individually. So when I get there, they’re not going to train me like they did Lilly King. They’re going to train me like they would Emily Weiss.”
Weiss, despite being four years younger than King, is already competing in the same pool as the Olympic champion, including in late July at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine, California.
Weiss qualified for the championship heats in the 50 and 100 meter breast stroke. In those events, Weiss was the youngest swimmer in the water, competing against Olympians, including King.
“I just really enjoyed it,” Weiss said. “I love racing super fast people, especially since I’m from a town where there’s not much competition until I got to national levels.”
The Phillips 66 Nationals gave Weiss an opportunity where she wouldn’t be dominant. Weiss no longer had to look behind her to see anyone else in the pool, and it was an experience she looks forward to.
“It’s a weird thing to say, but that’s definitely it,” Weiss said.
Weiss’ top-eight finish in each of her two swims in Irvine clinched her a spot on the US National Team for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Fiji.
In Fiji, Weiss found even more success, winning two gold medals and setting two meet records in the process.
With a time of 1:07.55 Weiss won the 100-meter breast stroke, and was a member of US women’s 4x100 medley relay team that set a meet record with a 4:02.33 time.
“It was definitely a really fun time both in the water and out of the water,” Weiss said. "I know it was a competition, but it was also really nice to just cool off, and not really a break from swimming, but a really fun time while participating in the meet.”
With her performances over the summer and dating back to last summer at the FINA Junior World Championships, Weiss has the entire swimming world on notice.
“I think Worlds was the first step into that,” Weiss said. “Continually improving, especially in international meets, really sets the tone for the future and that’s what people like to see. I don’t want to say it intimidates people, but it definitely catches their eye.”
Weiss knows the shoes she will be filling when she gets to Bloomington, though it’s a role her results, and certainly her experience, have prepared her well for.
“I’ve known Lilly for a while, so I know her personality type,” Weiss said. “We’re very similar, but very different in different ways.”
Weiss and King are already good friends, and Weiss is already following in the current Hoosiers’ footsteps well.
Like King, Weiss set the Indiana high school state record. Like King, Weiss will be headed to the Olympic trials after her freshman year in college. Like King, Weiss has all the makings of a dominant breaststroker.
In her senior year of high school, Weiss is focused on breaking her own record in the 100-meter breast stroke, and setting a new state record in the 200 IM.
On top of that, Weiss wants to record a time of under 56 seconds in the 100 breaststroke — the same goal as King.