Get To Know Our Women State Swimmers


Savannah Andrews, Staff Reporter

This year several members of Washington high schools’ students on the Women’s Swim team have been chosen to go to state, including Ellie Thompson and Sophie Lenzer, who are both seniors. 

Ellie Thompson was born in Cedar Rapids and has always lived here. She learned to swim at a young age, yet she started swimming competitively at age six. Passing down this sport to the next generation her mom formerly had been a swimmer in high school, and later was also a lifeguard, with this extended knowledge of swimming Thompson’s mom helped her to learn the basics when she was young. 

With swimming being a part of life it has noticeably changed her for the better. “I was a very shy child and I think swimming every day and being a part of a team definitely benefited me outside of the pool as well. It has also taught me great time management skills, I have had practice 5 days a week, for 2 hours and 7 hour meets on the weekends since I first started. This amount of time spent in the pool made it difficult to hang out with friends and do school work, but with time I have learned skills that pushed me to do even better in high school,” says Thompson ‘21. Also for all four years of her high school career, she has been a part of the Wash swim team and has worked very hard to get to this point.

Going to state just sounds stressful, and getting ready for it has and will be a lot of hard work. The way Thompson is preparing for going to state is by drinking lots of water, and rest, as well as cutting down her time in the gym focusing on her swimming. She also said “The week leading up to state I am making sure to eat well and drink lots of water as well!” Despite all the preparations for the state she has also said, “I am overall very excited to go to state this year. With everything 2020 has changed or canceled I am feeling very lucky to have this opportunity with my team, especially for my senior year.”

Other than swimming Thompson has other interests as well, such as her favorite subjects in school consists of science and Language Arts. In addition to this, she also enjoys traveling, going out with friends, and not just in the pool workouts. On top of her busy swim schedule and leisurely activities recently she has gained a job at Target as a guest advocate.

Thompsons concluding words are, “I would encourage anyone thinking about joining swimming, or any sport, in general, to go for it. You never know when you will have the opportunity again, so make the most of it!”

Sophie Lenzer was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and lived there for six years, she moved to Des Moines for one year after her parents got divorced. In 2010 her mom got remarried and they moved to rural Illinois, across the Mississippi River from Burlington. Later in the summer of 2016 she, her mom, step-dad, and sister moved to Cedar Rapids, IA. 

She has been swimming her whole life, “It was really important to my parents for me to be in the water and have comfort within it,” says Lenzer. At nine years old she started to swim competitively with the local YMCA team. She also took private lessons with various club coaches over the years, “On my club team in Illinois, my little sister Lily and I would just stay after practice on our assigned day of the week and did half-hour sessions with our coach,” says Lenzer ‘21. 

This sport has taught her a lot about patience and acceptance, as one example her sister (Lily),  “Is absolutely stellar at swimming, she’s always been better than me…I had to accept that I needed to find different outlets of fulfillment within the sport, not just speed,” says Lenzer ‘21, and started focusing more on tenacity, friendship, leadership, and enthusiasm.  Also, it has been difficult to wake up before 5 a.m. especially because she is not a morning person.

She has done both club and high school swimming since freshman year, in an effort to prepare she has been using Taper (a program where a coach helps plan out your season at the start of fall, and is there to encourage you to do better), and is program purposed for state prep, “Essentially, you go super hard right before those last couple weeks of your season… If you’ve worked hard all season, that drive and the final push right before coming down allows your body to get SO much rest after all the soreness and stretches and lifting and then soreness again. And once the drag is off, you’re ready to just go,” she says. 

State will be her last meet ever, due to her decision to not continue in college, “…the end of an era both for me as a swimmer and for me as a team captain of a sport at Wash, I truly love my team more than I’ve loved anything… Coach Lewis has done so much for me in and out of the water, and I just wanted to make her proud one last time… Going into State, I was just excited to show that one last time,” clearly swimming has been a big part of her life with a ‘bittersweet’ ending.

Lenzer has other interests as well, including liking to learn in classes like English which comes easily to her, Math and science which take more effort to be fun, history (depending on the teacher), and “…AP Psych, and Doc Jones is one of the reasons I want to study neuroscience.” Out of school activities, she enjoys reading mostly Mystery and Mythology, and Dystopian, “if it’s done tastefully,” and enjoys writing, but mostly for herself. In our present circumstances, it has given her a chance to watch many new movies and knows much about the film topic and would love to, “…become a member of The Academy and analyze everything about all of the year’s best films,” and also thoroughly enjoys yelling at the news with her parents, and cuddling with her dogs and cat. On top of all this, she teaches swim lessons for Linn-Mar Aquatic Center, and now that swim season is over she spends her time working as a sales associate at TJ Maxx. 

As she has said before, “the end of an era both for me as a swimmer and for me as a team captain of a sport at Wash…” but in addition to that she says, “I truly love my team more than I’ve loved anything. It is the embodiment of my heart and soul in the most wonderful and the hardest moments combined… I worked really hard, harder than I can express in words, at this sport in the Wash pool. Going into State, I was just excited to show that one last time. I was really grateful to get one last championship meet with my girls. We did extremely well and I am so proud of them.”