Annie Lazor made her late father proud at the Tokyo Olympics.
At the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Friday, the 26-year-old swimmer won bronze in the women's 200m breaststroke, just 1.89 seconds behind gold medal winner Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa. (Fellow Team USA star Lilly King, Lazor's close friend, won silver.)
Speaking with reporters after her race on Friday, Lazor talked about her last few months.
"It has been a little bit of a roller coaster since [Olympic] trials," she said, "because obviously you're trying to still grieve the worst thing that's ever happened to you while you're going through the best part of [your] life so far, which is the Olympic process and making the team and everything."
Following her father's death, Lazor, who is the oldest American swimmer to qualify for her first Olympics, said sometimes things can feel "so great and amazing," and then "one day it just hits you and you don't— nothing really prepares you for that."
Thankfully, Lazor said, her teammates and "amazing support staff" have been helping her, especially King.
"I'm just lucky to have so many of my teammates on the Olympic team with me," she said. "My coach, Ray, who's just been my person I've been able to go to."
Speaking with Today before the Games, Lazor remembered how "[King] was talking to my mom and she promised my mom that she was going to do everything it took to put me on the team and she was going to put me through practice every day."
That just showed me what a person she is," Lazor told Today. "That meant the absolute world to me and to my mom."
On Friday, peaking about the grief she feels after losing one of her biggest supporters, Lazor told reporters: "It's still something I'm obviously working through, but again just having that sense of comfortability with people on the team since then and the people who have seen me pretty much every day since that's happened — that's just been something that not a lot of people have the privilege to have during this experience."
And in Tokyo, Lazor has had the right people around her, she said.
"Even though it's really, really hard, I'm just so grateful for that," she said.
Before Tokyo, Lazor opened up to Today about her father's death and how he reminded her that she was more than just a swimmer.
"My dad was the first one to always tell me that I'm so much more than my swimming successes. It's not because he didn't care about my swimming; it's just that was such a minuscule part of who I was to him," she said, later adding: "When the stress and the anxiety becomes too much with this meet, it really just makes me think about what he thinks of me. That obviously he wants to see me accomplish my life dream and my goals, but at the end of the day, that's such a small part of who I am."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.