Posted May 30, 2013
WELLESLEY

Lily Gribbel, member of the Wellesley High School swim team.

As fate would have it, it took leaving a big pond like California for Wellesley High sophomore swimmer Lily Gribbel to prove what a big fish she really was.

Gribbel, who has been swimming since she was 4 years old and truly dedicated herself to the sport when she was 8, transferred from the Golden State over the summer, and she has wasted little time proving how valuable she is to the Wellesley High girls swim team.

“She is unique as a swimmer because she is not used to being a ‘big fish’ in a little ocean as she is here,” said Wellesley girls swim coach Jennifer Dutton. “Coming from an incredibly strong program at her old school, I think maybe she had not had the chance to really take center stage yet. It has been great to watch Lily get used to the team and our practices. It feels like she has always been part of our group.”

It took some time for Gribbel to adjust to life in Massachusetts, but her ability in the pool transitioned right away, helping to propel the Raiders to a 6-3 overall record this season. She has gone undefeated in the 50-meter freestyle and has broken two school records so far this year in the 100-meter backstroke and the 100-meter butterfly, while her other times continue to improve.

“The Wellesley swim team is an amazing group of girls that really helped to welcome me to Massachusetts,” Gribbel said. “They never cease to amaze me and I am so grateful to be able to practice with them every day.”

“I think Lily deserves some recognition for her terrific attitude, strong team spirit and her fierce racing,” said Dutton. “Lily is a great addition to our team this year who brings a sense of humor and fun, along with some fast swimming, with her from California.”

Gribbel is driven by a passion to compete, using the opposition to fuel her fire and provide her with that extra push to cross the finish line first.
“I love the competition,” said Gribbel. “When I swim against other people and we are neck-and-neck, it makes me want to work harder and win. I think that the thrill of a close race is such an exciting time and it also allows for me to achieve new personal records and goals.”

In order to be successful in the pool, Gribbel puts in the hard work at practice. Aside from the Raiders’ weekly meets, the team practices every day from Monday through Friday for two hours at Babson College, with 30 minutes spent out of the pool and an hour and a half in it. On Sundays, the Raiders spend all of their 2 1/2-hour practice in the pool.

Undoubtedly, the team demands a lot from its members, but the hard work has paid off.

This was reposted with the permission of The Wellesley Townsman.