West York swimmer named nation's top recruit
West York's Courtney Harnish has been named the top swimming recruit in the nation by an online site. The 17-year-old explains what she's looking for in a college. Jim Seip, GameTimePA
West York's Courtney Harnish has been named the top high school swimming recruit in the nation, according to an online site. It marks the second consecutive year a swimmer from the York YMCA has earned the nation's top ranking.
Swimswam.com named Harnish, 17, the nation's top recruit this week.
"Harnish is more distance-oriented than 2016's Meghan Small but has the same brand of across-the-board versatility," Swimswam.com reported. "Harnish is already at NCAA scoring level in the 500 free and 200 fly, and should also have a big relay impact as a 200 freestyler and perhaps 100 flyer. And her 400 IM might turn out most valuable in the long run."
Coaches from the University of Florida attended Harnish's practice at the Graham Aquatic Center on Wednesday.
"It's a little overwhelming, getting several phone calls a day from coaches," Harnish said about being named the top recruit in the nation.
The NCAA Division I open period began July 1, when college coaches could contact her. The volume of calls she receives depends on the day, Harnish said. For instance, she talked to five programs Wednesday but had yet to receive a call from a coach Thursday evening. She has already narrowed her choice to four schools, which she did not want to reveal, and hopes to take four official visits to schools in September and October. Her hope is to sign a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period, which runs from Nov. 9 through Nov. 16 this year.
Harnish placed 13th in the 400-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and 17th in the 800 free. She also placed in the top-100 in three other events at the Trials. Her club team, the York YMCA, won the Short Course Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, earlier this year. And she won the 200-yard free (1:46.12), 500 free (4:43.98) and 200 butterfly (1:56.92). She also took second in the 100 fly.
Harnish's top ranking comes a year after Swimswam.com named York YMCA's Meghan Small the nation's top recruit. Small, who graduated from Manchester Valley High in Maryland, signed her national letter of intent to swim at the University of Tennessee, where she will begin her freshman year in the fall semester.
"We've talked a little bit," Harnish said about earning the top ranking a year after Small. "She's helped me with the process and talking to coaches ... so, definitely, it does help."
The site's top-20 list includes just one other Pennsylvania swimmer. Montgomery County's Sierra Schmidt, who swims for the North Baltimore Aquatic Center, was named the nation's No. 2 recruit.
Harnish expects to make a change this season. She had focused solely on club swimming with the York YMCA Aquatic Club for the last two-plus years. The move paid off, with Harnish qualifying for seven events for the U.S. Olympic Trials. But after having scratched off so many goals, she plans to swim for the York YMCA and West York High School this winter.
"For now, I think I’m going to say I’m swimming high school," Harnish said before leaving for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
She confirmed she still plans to follow through with swimming for the York YMCA and West York this winter.
"I'm really excited," Harnish said about swimming for West York. "Being able to represent your high school, I just think that's great."
Harnish hasn't raced for her high school team since winning state championships in two events and setting two state championship records as a freshman.
"It’s all part of the process, what I’ve done has already helped me get into the colleges I want to get into," Harnish said earlier this summer. "The end goal being 2020 (Olympics)."