Sacrifices pay off for Blassneck

Signs to swim for Eastern Michigan

Wesley Blassneck, right, and her mom Gina, happily show off their Eastern  Michigan University T-shirts. They inked a scholarship agreement for Wesley to swim at Eastern Michigan, a Division I school.

Adam Peterson / Eagle i

Wesley Blassneck, right, and her mom Gina, happily show off their Eastern Michigan University T-shirts. They inked a scholarship agreement for Wesley to swim at Eastern Michigan, a Division I school.

Lely's Wesley Blassneck swims in the girls 200-yard freestyle during the Collier County Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships at the YMCA Norris Pool on Oct. 10, 2007. Blassneck won the event with a new meet record time of 1:59.88.

Photo by GREG KAHN

Lely's Wesley Blassneck swims in the girls 200-yard freestyle during the Collier County Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships at the YMCA Norris Pool on Oct. 10, 2007. Blassneck won the event with a new meet record time of 1:59.88.

Marco's Wesley Blassneck pans the camera as she stands by her many records shown on the new Lely High School Swim and Dive Records Board, placed near the gymnasium. Blassneck's name appears for three individual and three relay records.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Marco's Wesley Blassneck pans the camera as she stands by her many records shown on the new Lely High School Swim and Dive Records Board, placed near the gymnasium. Blassneck's name appears for three individual and three relay records.

Lely's Wesley Blassneck of Marco Island shows her medal for finishing second in the 200-yard Individual Medley at the Florida Class 2A State Championships.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Lely's Wesley Blassneck of Marco Island shows her medal for finishing second in the 200-yard Individual Medley at the Florida Class 2A State Championships.

Lely's Wesley Blassneck proudly shows off her Eastern Michigan University T-shirt. She signed a letter of intent for a scholarship to be on the university's swim team.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Lely's Wesley Blassneck proudly shows off her Eastern Michigan University T-shirt. She signed a letter of intent for a scholarship to be on the university's swim team.

There were times when Wesley Blassneck wondered, “Why am I doing this?”

When she signed her scholarship letter of intent to swim at Eastern Michigan University, she thought, “All those sacrifices paid off. Wow was it worth it all.”

Marco’s Blassneck, Lely High and Collier County Athletic Conference multiple swim record holder, is going to a Division I university that is highly competitive in the Mid-American Conference.

“They have an amazing swimming program,” Blassneck said. “The boys have won 28 straight conference titles and the girls are always in the top half of the conference.”

Four members of the girls team won All-Mid-American Conference honors.

On her recruiting trip to Eastern Michigan, at Ypsilanti, Mich., she experienced the cold weather, but her greeting was warm.

“I love the school and it already feels like I know my team members really well,” she said. “I keep in touch with them. The coach (Peter Linn) is very nice, but also tough when he needs to be. I picked a new, really good family.”

And Eastern Michigan gets a really good swimmer. She holds Lely and CCAC records in the 200 and 500 freestyles, 200 individual medley and was a member of all three record-setting relay teams in the 200 individual medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle. She raced to second in the state in the 200 individual medley and eighth in the 500 freestyle.

Lely Coach Adam Peterson said that Wesley can’t be replaced because of all her qualities.

“She was probably the hardest worker,” he said. “She knew what she wanted and she went out and did it. Many of her days started with swimming at 5:15 a.m. No one forced her to swim, she just had the dedication.”

Peterson also said Blassneck was a fantastic teammate.

“She pushed her teammates to do better, much of it by example,” he said. “She was an excellent team captain. She always looked on the bright side, that there was always another day for opportunities that will now come in college. She also was a hard worker when it came to academics. She will be successful.”

Her mother, Gina, took part in the signing.

“I would say the feeling was incredible,” she said. “I was happy and excited for her. She worked hard and got there all on her own merit.”

Gina spoke of her daughter beginning swimming at 9 and onto high school competition.

“There were tears, the agony of disappointment, then the successes that came together with putting her name on dotted line,” Gina said. “This was her moment, everything she worked for.

Daughter and mother credited Darryl Sullivan, her Swim Florida coach, with Wesley’s success.

“He made her the athlete she became,” Gina said. “Every time she surpassed a goal he was there, setting another.”

Wesley talked about her sacrifices.

“There were so many, family, friends, high school social life and school itself at times,” she said.

“Looking back a couple years ago, I never thought I would be at this stage. I learned that if you worked hard enough, sacrificed enough and be dedicated you can accomplish anything. It is so nice to have it all validated.”

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