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Kansas City-area sisters share experience competing at Olympic Swimming Trials

Abby and Avery Karl
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 08:22:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two Kansas City-area sisters who competed at the Olympic Swimming Trials said the event was an "eye opening" experience.

"It was a lot," Avery Karl, 15, said. "It was overwhelming, but it was also such a great experience to have and to just see everyone else that's just as good as you, it was just eye opening."

But despite making it to the trials, the Karl sisters – Avery and 18-year-old Abby – did not dive right into the sport from a young age.

"For the first years, I was like, 'I don't want to do this,'" Abby Karl said. "I would argue with my parents almost every practice. I didn't like it. I didn't want to do it. And then I guess something just clicked and I loved it ever since."

Abby Karl stuck with the sport, but Avery Karl stepped away for a few years, attempting other sports before returning to the pool. The two said racing is what really drew them into the water.

And it was their competitive spirit that earned the athletes their spots at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Abby Karl swam the 100-meter backstroke and Avery Karl swam the 50-meter freestyle in their first Olympic Trials appearance.

Ahead of the trials, the competitors told KSHB 41 their schedule consisted of hours in the pool and weight room several times per week. Being together during the strenuous days helped them get through it.

"It's nice having her there as a support system," Abby Karl said, "just because I know that she's going through the same things that I'd be going through, just different days a part.

"It was really nice just having her there and knowing what I'm going through, what she's going through. We had a very good mutual understanding of what we wanted to eat, when we wanted to go to bed, just based on race day and stuff like that."

While the two did not qualify to move on to the next wave, they both are eager to return to the Olympic Trials.

"It was so fun," Avery Karl said. "I wanted to race again when I was done."

In August, Abby Karl will head to the University of Louisville to swim and Avery Karl will continue swimming with her club team as she enters her sophomore year at Blue Valley North High School.