The photographer asked Ryan Kremer for a “game-face” pose.
Kremer clenched his face, looking as tough as he could, for all of three frames before a smile burst onto his face.
He was having too much fun.
And who could blame him? Prior to his freshman year he spent his winters as a benchwarmer on the basketball team.
His cousins swam at Delaware High School and suggested he take up the sport. So he did.
Boy, did he.
The senior’s name is splashed all over the board that lists the school records — he holds three individual records and three as a member of relay teams. And now he’s making his second trip to the state swimming meet.
“I didn’t really know anybody on the swim team,” Kremer said. “I knew of them. But I wasn’t real close to anybody. So I thought I’d try it out. It was a good idea, I guess.”
Kremer will compete in the 100-yard backstroke in the Division II meet, which begins Thursday at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.
He will be joined in Canton by freshman Josie Miller, who will swim in the 50 freestyle.
The top 16 times from Thursday’s preliminary races will swim in the finals Friday. The top eight times compete in the A-final. Times 9-16 will race in the B-final. Only those in the A-final make it onto the medal podium, making it crucial to post a good time on Thursday.
Kremer qualified last year as a member of the 200 freestyle relay team which finished 24th.
He enters this as the 23rd seed in the 100 backstroke. His qualifying time of 56.53 seconds from the district meet in Bowling Green broke the school record.
“His first couple years, he just wasn’t sure what he could do with his body,” Wapak coach Mark Law said. “He’s got a typical swimmer’s body. He’s long and lanky.
“I think he realized he had the potential. And this year he just came out and him and Nate Hager just worked hard every single day.”
Law didn’t start coaching the swim team until Kremer’s sophomore year. But he could tell right away he had a special swimmer on his hands.
“You could definitely tell, just after that one year of experience, that he was going to be a good one,” Law said.
Kremer knows he has a tough challenge ahead of him if he hopes to make it to Friday’s finals.
“It’s all up to me,” Kremer said. “I control everything that happens and just do my best and hope for the best.”
Miller is the No. 11 seed in the 500 freestyle. Her qualifying time of :24.46 — also a school record — is just .14 of a second out of the top eight qualifying times.
“I’m hoping to get in the top eight,” Miller said. “[It will take] probably low 24’s to high 23’s. I’m hoping. I’ve worked hard.”
Said Law, “We had a talk about her goal today. And her goal is to get into that top eight. ...
“I knew two years ago, watching her swim in the summers and swimming at the Y with my daughters, we knew she was a special person.”