For the first time since 2008, North Alabama will be represented at the Olympics.
Zach Harting swam his way to victory at the Olympic Trials and earned a spot on Team USA after winning the 200M butterfly finals with a 1:55:06.
“It’s weird to say Zach Harting Olympian. It’s a humbling experience but also super awesome at the same time. It’s hard to put into words,” Harting said.
The former Bob Jones standout started his career here in the 256 with the Madison Dolphins, and now he’ll be representing North Alabama on the biggest stage in the world.
“I told my coach I’m gonna win it and I’m gonna sit on the lane line like that’s what I’m gonna do,” Harting said. “When I touched I was like 95% sure that I had won. Normally I would be really shocked but I kind of had this feeling before. When I was finishing the race I was pretty confident that I was in the lead, so there wasn’t a whole bunch of shock just pure joy afterward.”
Harting’s thrilled to have the opportunity to compete in Tokyo, but he’s also looking ahead to how he’ll be able to leave an impact in and out of the pool.
“I go to practice every day and train with Olympians. Now I’m gonna have that presence at practice and influence in the world. I think that’s what’s really cool about it is the difference in how people look up to you and what you can influence, promote and push.”
Harting says he’s been able to look up to phenomenal athletes during his career and he hopes any young simmers out there will do the same with him and his story.
“It shows that anyone can do it. All it takes is dedication,” Harting said. “I show up to practice every day. I was there for a purpose. Relentless pursuit chasing after that dream, making that into a goal and making that into a reality.”
The 2021 Olympics start on Friday, July 23 and end on Sunday, August 8. Best of luck to Zach out in Tokyo; North Alabama is cheering for you and Team USA!