Danielle Cramer is a decorated swimmer at Milton High School.


Danielle Cramer grew up idolizing Bridgette Alexander.

Alexander, a 2014 Milton High graduate, is the most decorated swimmer in school history. She won nine WIAA Division 2 state titles and is currently training for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo after an All-America career at the University of Kentucky.

Cramer is also riding a wave of success and is following quite nicely in her idol’s wake.

The Milton High junior has already broken one of Alexander’s school records and is quietly making a name for herself as one of the top backstrokers in the state. She is a two-time state qualifier and has already dropped her times considerably from last year in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke.

Cramer said watching Alexander and a Division 2 powerhouse in Milton growing up served as fuel for her extensive year-round training regimen.

“I went to all their dual meets when I was 8 and 9 and couldn’t believe how dominant they were,” Cramer said. “I thought that was really cool and wanted so bad to be a part of that and keep the tradition going when I got up here.

“Once I started training with the J-Hawks, I began to have a little bit more success than I did when I was younger. That gave me a lot of confidence.”

Cramer has been swimming for 10 years and started getting serious about the sport thanks to some advice from former Milton boys and girls coach Tom Lieder. He told Cramer she could be something special and that she should stay in the pool and stay on the path that could bring great things.

She heeded the advice and joined the Milton Marlins swim club when she was 7 years old. Cramer eventually hooked up with the J-Hawk club team and finished 45th in the 200 backstroke at the NJCAA national meet this past summer.

In the two years she’s qualified for the WIAA Division 1 state meet, she’s finished in the top 10 twice in the 100 backstroke and twice in the top 15 in the 100 butterfly.

This year is different, however.

Cramer has already shaved nearly two seconds off the time she swam at last year’s state meet in the 100 backstroke. She swam a 55.99 in the event last week to break Alexander’s pool record of 56.76. Cramer’s time at last year’s state meet in finishing ninth was 57.43.

“It’s a pretty big deal to me,” Cramer said of breaking Alexander’s record. “She was my biggest idol growing up, and I’ve learned so much from her. I know how hard she trains and the fact that she might swim on the U.S. Olympic team, and that really motivates me to work hard.”

Cramer suffered a hip flexor last February, and it kept her out of the pool for a short time while she recovered. She concentrated more on weightlifting to build up her core muscles, and once she returned to the pool spent longer hours with more intensive training.

The results were immediate as she saw her times drop considerably. She’ll likely swim the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke in her quest to make it three straight trips to state and is also hopeful of getting a relay team through, as well.

Danielle Cramer grew up idolizing Bridgette Alexander.

When she’s done at Milton, kids may grow up idolizing her.

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