Abigail Abshire knew her weakness. Her coaches knew her weakness.
The only way for the Wasco standout swimmer to get better was to tackle the issue head-on.
Thankfully, it was just a matter of getting out of her own head and spending more time in the pool.
Last season, Abshire admittedly put far too much pressure on herself to advance deep into the postseason, falling short of a state bid as a junior.
“It was pressure. I think Abby put a lot of pressure on herself that she had to make it,” Wasco coach Joaquin Castillo said. “Also, last year was the first time she went to club full-time.”
Abshire began swimming outside of the school season at Roadrunner Aquatics under the guidance of Michelle Kroll.
“It has been really, really helpful,” Abshire said. “All of my coaches have helped me and brought me to where I am now. Going to club has probably been the best decision for me. Joining a club and putting in extra work has really helped.”
That extra time in the pool and added tutorial guidance helped Abshire this season.
The Cal State Bakersfield-bound senior won Central Section Division II titles in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 free.
Abshire’s time in the 50 free qualified her for the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships beginning Friday at the Clovis West Aquatics Center along with 11 other Kern County divers and swimmers.
This is Abshire’s first trip to state.
“I am super excited. I am going into it from a really good mindset and I happy with that,” Abshire said. “I am not super nervous. Yes, it’s a huge meet, but I have to treat it like any other.”
Nerves used to get the best of Abshire before this season.
“That is something I really had to work on this year,” Abshire said. “I got into my own head and didn’t swim my best. I had to learn to be calm and act like it was practice. And it went down just like practice.”
Part of the preparation for Castillo as a coach was to teach himself how to do his best to keep added distractions from Abshire.
Castillo said he was aware of how close Abshire was to breaking the D-II record in the 100 free. He said he kept that information from her until she broke the 8-year-old record previously held by Highland’s Taylor Solorio.
“They did not tell me beforehand in the 100,” Abshire said. “It helped because I was not thinking about it. When they told me afterwards, I was caught off guard. It really helps.”
“The biggest thing is trusting the work she has done this year,” Castillo said. “Her being relaxed will be huge. Last year, the big goal was making it to state. Now that she is in, it’s about doing her best. She, like all swimmers, do best when they are relaxed.”
The preliminary heats at state are on Friday, and for Abshire and Castillo, bettering her time and advancing to the top 16 and to Saturday are the two goals going in.
“She’s going to do her best and hopefully get a PR and get faster and try to make top-16 for second day,” Castillo said.
If both happen, Abshire says, “It would be so exciting.”