About 48 weeks a year, North swimmer Abbey Lassley trains, pushing her body in the pool and out of the pool through weights and running.
There are days when she just really doesn’t want to practice. Doesn’t want to feel her body screaming at her to stop, doesn’t want to push herself mentally one more time to make it through a 200-yard sprint. Maybe she just wants to be outside on a nice day or finish her homework.
“At times, I absolutely hate it,” she said. “Practice is a killer and it’s taking up my life. But you do well, you get the time you wanted, you win, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Lassley will swim in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke at the Class 6A meet, which begins today in Topeka.
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She is hopelessly addicted to swimming. If she skips out on practice, she feels guilty. She loves that she can work out extremely hard and then go home to eat whatever she wants, including those delicious German meatballs she makes.
She loves the people. Through swimming she has traveled around the country and made friends on different teams.
So yeah, there are days when she’d rather sleep than practice. But when it comes down to it, she loves the pool, always has. If she wasn’t swimming, she’s pretty sure she’d sleep all the time and gain weight.
“We kind of got started in swimming with our neighborhood pool, the Twin River Club,” said Scott Lassley, Abbey’s dad. “They have games and races on the Fourth of July. She was 6 years old and she was bound and determined to win all the races.”
Shortly after that, Lassley put Abbey and her older brother, Logan, into competitive swimming. Logan Lassley went on to set North records in the 200 free, 50 free, 100 free, 500 free, 100 back, 400 free relay and 200 free relay. This past season, he swam for Oklahoma Baptist, which won the NAIA swimming title in its first year as a program.
While Logan needed some encouragement and pushing to do the workouts, Abbey doesn’t.
“She’s always been really easy in that,” Scott Lassley said. “She’s been really dedicated to the sport. She’s always been raring to go, she’s set goals and sets her practice schedule. Now, Logan, he had to be nudged quite a bit. He had more of the raw talent, and she’s had to work more at it.”
Abbey Lassley owns North’s 50 free record and set the 100 back record as a freshman, then broke it this season. Her goal is to hold as many North records as possible by graduation, and to have a state championship banner hanging above the North pool, just like her brother.
She won the 50 free at the City League meet last week and finished second in the 100 back.
“She’s been swimming some of her best times this year between high school and club, her best times ever,” North coach Megan VonFange said. “I’m really excited because some of her splits for relays have been even faster.”
In the 200 relay and the 400 relay at the league meet, Lassley anchored both and nearly pulled out the wins.
“She was a couple body lengths behind and if there had been two more arm lengths for both races, she would have been able to out-touch them for the win,” Von Fange said.
At the league meet, Von Fange could have put her in a different event than the 100 back, but Lassley wanted to swim against Bishop Carroll’s Madison Hutchinson.
“She beat me last year, and I really wanted to come back and beat her,” Lassley said. “Madison is one of my best friends. We’ve really become close the past couple months. In club, it’s been back and forth with us. I’m really good in the 200 back and she’s good in the 100 back, so it’s back and forth.”
As for state, Lassley is ready.
“When it comes to state, you’re so pumped and so ready to go,” she said. “You get your racing suit on and you’re behind the blocks, it doesn’t matter what you practiced the day before or what you ate, it’s just adrenaline.”