Excelling in the classroom or in athletics are each remarkable accomplishments on their own; being elite in both is rarified territory.
Still, Spartanburg High School swimmer Annika McEnroe has managed to juggle both exceptionally well. For that ability, she has been named the Arby's Scholar Athlete Award winner.
A 10-time state champion in the pool, McEnroe has also earned NISCA All-American recognition twice and qualified for the Olympic Trials in two events.
"As a young kid I played soccer, basketball, tennis; I played a lot of things," McEnroe said. "My mom sat me and my sister down and said, 'You have to choose -- you don't have enough time in your day.'"
"I feel like swimming was the thing I enjoyed the most," McEnroe continued.
Time became her ally once she entered high school. Currently sitting top-5 in her class with a 5.35 G.P.A., McEnroe is meticulous with rationing out the available minutes within a given day.
"Practicing in the morning gives me time to work on my academics, but a lot of it is maintaining schedule," she said. "Putting the phone up during homework and just getting things done and checking the boxes."
The dedication required from each facet of her life has bled over into the other aspects.
"I'm very competitive in any atmosphere. So, I like to be in control; I like to know what's going on," she said. "I think athletics has helped my academics in the standpoint of pushing myself to the next level and being comfortable being uncomfortable."
Her principal, Vance Jones, showered praise on the award winner.
"She is definitely one of our best and brightest," Jones said of McEnroe. "She's a great example and mentor for our young swimmers and always willing to go above and beyond. A very humble superstar is what I consider her."
McEnroe's next stop after graduation is University of California, Berkley (UC Berkeley), where she will continue her swimming career.
The university is hallowed as one of the top 25 in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report, but it wasn't just the chance to continue challenging herself academically and athletically that drew her to the west coast.
"Berkley is a place of variety within the students," she said. "My deciding factor was that it's in such a different environment than I live in right now that it would expose me to challenges and allow me to undergo different situations that would form me as a human being."
The Arby's Scholar Athlete Award is given in partnership with WLOS/WMYA and the Brumit Restaurant Group and comes with a $2,000 scholarship.