Monarch's Lennox named Daily Camera swimmer of the year

Mar. 16—To win two golds and two silvers at a high school state meet, without being a year-round club swimmer, one would have to approach the sport with an almost surgical precision.

Eliza Lennox's entire life has circulated around such focus.

Last month, after deciding to take the summer off to hone her mental game, the Monarch junior stunned the Class 4A competition when she raced to the top of the leaderboard in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, clocking in times of 23.41 and 51.16 seconds. Later on, she took home second place as part of the 200 medley relay (1:47.88) and the 400 free relay (3:37.21).

For that, and her ability to qualify for the state meet in seven different events, Lennox earned the Daily Camera swimmer of the year honors.

"It's a really surreal feeling," she said. "I think it took me like a week to realize what happened. You go through all the training and you think about it for months and months and months. The entire season is leading up to state. That's the big meet. To get there and swim the best I've ever swam in my entire life, and be with my team and my coaches, and place first out of all of the girls that were there is incredible."

That kind of success was just par for the course for someone who has always wanted to be a pediatric surgeon, someone who has built up a 4.4 weighted GPA. While it's not going to be her main focus, a possible collegiate swimming career is starting to appeal to her as she begins thinking about the next stage of her academic career.

She hopes to find a Division-I school, maybe in the Ivy League, that also offers a strong STEM program.

"I think that being precise and knowing what you want and achieving those goals with such precision is what has helped me achieve so much already," Lennox said. "Swim is really hard, and I think it's really hard on the mind and hard on the body. I think that it is single-handedly preparing me for the challenges that I'm going to face in school and in residency and as a doctor."

Monarch head coach Amber Austin, who took over the program just this year, has reveled in the "unique" talent of Lennox as a seasonal swimmer, and believed her presence inside and outside of the water helped elevate the entire team to a strong showing this season.

She knows that Lennox will be able to achieve whatever she sets her mind to, now and in the future.

"The hardest possible, challenging thing that you're doing in training, day in and day out, she makes it more fun and energetic and enjoyable," Austin said. "I think that's really cool, how she kind of puts that spin on it. That just makes everybody rise up and also want to be more competitive.

"Any swimmer that has the attention span to swim back and forth and stare at a black line has just something special about them, because this is the most mundane thing, just swimming back and forth. The high expectations and aspirations and endless dreams and opportunities ... she'll have no problem doing whatever she wants to do."