GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Annie Lazor, a native of Detroit suburb Beverly Hills, can’t believe she’s headed to the Olympics.

“I don’t really think excited quite covers it. It’s almost overwhelming to the point where it’s kind of gone over my head and I don’t really feel like this is happening,” Lazor, 26, said during a recent Zoom call from Hawaii, where she’s training with the rest of the USA swimming team. “Just a culmination of years of hard work. …To finally have those dreams to come true, when it finally gets there, it doesn’t really feel like it’s real. So I’m not quite sure when it will hit me yet. But I’m just trying to enjoy every step of the process that I can.”

All that excitement is tinged with sadness: Her father won’t be able to see her compete. He died in April.

“I know I’ll feel his presence everywhere, in all the things that I do, just simply because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” she said. “…I can carry him with me every day throughout this process.”

She said her teammates’ support was key in moving forward.

“As soon as that happened, everyone rallied around me…” Lazor said. “That really helped me push through this tough time and to put me on the team. And I really could not have done it without them.”

Above, Lazor discusses her friendship with fellow swimmer Lilly King, who earned two gold medals in Rio, and what brought her to this point in her career.

In 2011, Lazor won a state title for Wylie E. Groves High School in the 100 meter breaststroke. She went on to attend Auburn University and now trains in Indiana. She’ll compete in the 200 meter breaststroke in Tokyo.

Annie Lazor of the United States reacts after competing in the Women’s 200m breaststroke final during Day Six of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 18, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)