Passages: Lily Ernst, University of Northern Iowa Swimmer, Age 21

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Passages: Lily Ernst, University of Northern Iowa Swimmer, Age 21

Lily Ernst, a swimmer at the University of Northern Iowa, passed away on July 27, the school announced.

Ernst was 21 years old. No cause was disclosed.


Photo Courtesy: UNI Athletics

A native of Iowa City, Ernst was a rising junior at UNI. She was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection as a freshman and an MVC Scholar Athlete Team selection as a sophomore. She set the UNI record in the women’s 200 butterfly at 2:02.97 at the MVC Championships in February.

“Our team is incredibly saddened by the loss of Lily,” head swimming and diving coach Nick Lakin said in a university statement. “Lily was so filled with kindness and compassion for other people. She was a ferocious competitor in the pool and classroom, but for those that knew her best she was extremely empathetic and cared deeply about everyone in her life. We will all miss her immensely and are praying for everyone that knew her.”

“UNI has lost a beloved member of the Panther family with the sudden passing of Lily Ernst,” Director of Athletics David Harris said. “This loss is heartbreaking for our swimming and diving team, our athletic department and the entire UNI campus. We offer our deepest condolences to Lily’s family, teammates and friends.”

A standout at Iowa City West High School, Ernst swam for Iowa Flyers Swim Club. She was majoring in social work with a minor in mental health.

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