As was released by UNI Athletics this morning, swimmer and student-athlete Lily Ernst passed away on Wednesday of this week.

Head coach for the Panther swimming and diving team Nick Lakin had this to say of the soon-to-be junior:

Our team is incredibly saddened by the loss of Lily. 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.

Athletic Director at UNI David Harris added this regarding the young woman's passing:

UNI has lost a beloved member of the Panther family with the sudden passing of Lily Ernst. 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.

Lily was a strong swimmer and a key piece to the Panthers' efforts last season. She earned a position on the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) First Team as a freshman when she placed second in the 200-yard butterfly at the MVC Championships in 2021. Last season, the Iowa City native found herself a spot in the record books, swimming the 200-yard butterfly in a time of 2:02.97 to set a school record.

Ernst was a social work major while also minoring in mental health. She is the daughter of Fran Ernst and Kelly Egan.

Her cause of death has not been released at this time.

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