About to embark on what will be her final season as a collegiate athlete, Hayley Elizondo is sticking with what has become a winning formula.
For the 2016 Hartley High School graduate and member of the Marymount University women's swimming and diving team, that means more than just getting in repetitions in the water during the offseason.
Last summer, Elizondo completed two Ironman triathlons that consist of swimming, biking and running. This summer, the Canal Winchester resident would like to complete three.
"Over the summer, I attempt my best to train as I would in season, (but) I like to mix it up and complete Ironman triathlons throughout the month," said Elizondo, whose father, Shawn, is the swimming coach at Canal Winchester. "This keeps me from burnout and challenges me in different areas I'm not completely comfortable with. ... I like to use my summers to stay healthy and challenge myself physically and mentally in ways I don't get to do during the school year."
The fitness base Elizondo has built over the years has paid off in the pool. After reaching the Division II state meet as a senior in the 100-yard breaststroke and as a member of two relays, she recorded 10 first-place finishes and 24 top-five finishes as a freshman at Marymount.
"I found Marymount through a recruiting profile that matched me 100 percent with the university," Elizondo said. "I immediately fell in love with the small school in Arlington, Virginia, and being so close to Washington, D.C. The university treats their athletes with immense respect and gives us all that you would be able to find at a Division I university while still encouraging us to focus on our academics."
Elizondo earned 13 first-place finishes as a sophomore and 20 as a junior and enters her senior season holding program records in the 100 breast (1 minute, 5.64 seconds), 200 breast (2:23.78) and 400 individual medley (4:36.38).
Last season, she was named Atlantic East Conference Women's Swimmer of the Year and made first-team All-AEC in the 100 breast, 200 breast and 400 IM and as part of the 200 free, 200 medley, 400 free and 400 medley relays.
Elizondo is a nominee for AEC Female Athlete of the Year, which will be announced in the fall.
"Hayley simply has an insatiable appetite for success," said Saints interim coach Joseph Smolinske, who was an assistant last season. "She strives for excellence in everything she does, especially in regards to her sport, and she's very competitive. Hayley wants to outperform everyone in everything she does, from swimming to weight training as well as in the classroom."
Elizondo, who is majoring in criminal justice and minoring in psychology and forensic science/criminal investigation, posted a 4.0 GPA during the spring semester.
"I hope to finish out my senior year holding a 4.0," she said. "Career-wise, I'm in the process of looking for an internship. My dream career is to work for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Once I graduate, I will be continuing my education at Marymount for my master's degree in forensic and legal psychology. With the small class sizes and proximity to D.C., I feel I've been and will continue to be successful throughout my studies and life."
According to Smolinske, Elizondo's goals for the coming season include qualifying for the NCAA Division III meet and setting four program records.
"So far, my three seasons at Marymount have been excellent," said Elizondo, who is serving as coach for the Canal Winchester Dolphins swimming team this summer. "I've steadily improved and become more excited for each season as they come. My junior season (was) my best."