While coach Jerry Foley said that he did not consider Lessard a shoo-in for the meet due to the difficulty in qualifying for it, he said he was confident in her ability to get selected this season.
Foley said he expected Lessard to swim fast, but did not worry about whether she would make nationals or not.
"I knew she would go her best times, because she had really trained hard on her own this summer to be ready for the year. We were just going to make our best shot at it," Foley said.
While Foley may have been focusing more on Lessard's times, making it to nationals was a goal for her since the start of her college career.
Lessard said she decided to swim in Division III because she saw nationals as an attainable achievement. >From the beginning, she had that ultimate goal in the back of her head, always working toward it.
Lessard made a few changes to her preparation this year that may have helped her make the championship meet.
Besides the extra work in the summer, Foley said Lessard tweaked her diet, choosing to eat healthier.
"That made a very big different in her physique," Foley said. "She became even more fit than she already was; she got much leaner because of that."
Now that Lessard has made it, she said words cannot really describe how she feels.
"It's just the perfect way to end my swimming career," she said. "I couldn't be happier, regardless of what happens at the meet. And it's just really nice having a goal that I've been working for four years now, and it's actually happening."
"A brand new experience"