• 73°
Zach Harting of Madison races through the water at the U.S. Olympic Swim Team Trials where he was attempting to qualify for his second consecutive Olympics. Photo- Associated Press

Zach Harting- 4 Feet From Glory

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.- In sports that are timed one-hundredth or even a tenth of a second can determine between winning and losing. For those not participating in those athletic events, those milliseconds are difficult to comprehend and understand just how short of time those units really are. For Zach Harting, he was a mere 0.57 seconds, or four feet from glory of making his second consecutive U.S. Olympic Swim Team.

The former Bob Jones Patriot finished fourth in the finals of the 100m butterfly event at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swim Team Trials held in Indianapolis, Ind. thus just missing out on making the team set to partake in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. The 26-year old Harting also finished eighth in the 200m butterfly thus ending his quest to make the team as he did four years ago for the Tokyo Olympics where he finished ninth just .04 of a second from the finals in the 200m butterfly.

“I performed my best and there was a lot of emotions during the trials, but not a sad emotion of missing my spot on the team as I have no regrets,” said Harting after the competition. “As I drove away from Lucas Oil Stadium most of my emotions were geared to what I had accomplished as an athlete. I’ve had a great life. I’ve earned my education, traveled the world representing my country and even met my wife through swimming. There was no sadness.”

Upon graduating from Bob Jones as the state’s No. 1 swim prospect winning two individual state championships he chose to sign with the University of Louisville where he would earn All-American honors during his time with the Cardinals. Since that time he is a two-time World Champion earning gold medals in both the 4×200 freestyle relay and 4×100 medley relay where he swam the butterfly portion of the four-man team event. Those performances led his coaches to encourage him to concentrate on the 100m butterfly race.

“I used to be the 200 guy and saw the 100 for fun, but now, I swim the 100 and do the 200 just because I can,” said Harting. “At first, I struggled with the idea, but I soon took to the notion of making the 100 my race filled with confidence.”

Attending the trials knowing you must perform your best can get even the best athletes in a state of mind they each don’t know how to handle. For Harting, the event was stressful and he couldn’t sit back and take a short nap because of his constant raised heart rate. He and many family members and friends were at the trials as “one.” He had support and the confidence, which had grown immensely since the World Championships in February winning his gold medals.

“Ever since then I never took anything for granted,” said the son of Scott and Lori Harting. “When the 100 was over, I said to myself, wow, I’m done. I knew I gave it my best and I can smile and hold my head up. The next day, I ran into several former Olympians and they asked how I was handling the fact I did not make the team. They quickly saw I was handling just perfectly and I saw I was part of a great Olympic community.”

Harting has decided to retire from the 200m event. He added, “With 25 meters to go I knew my goose was cooked. I knew I was in trouble, but I still fought for it.” He remains undecided if he will continue to swim the 100m. If he does, the next event for him to compete will be in the Short Course World Championships set to be held in Budapest come December. “If I don’t feel good about a decision to do so, I’ll pass on my chance, retire and let someone else have the honor,” he added. “It’s sad, but it’s very important others know I’m OK. Failure is not bad. Months ago I had an epiphany moment where I saw that I have sacrificed a lot, but know life goes on.”

Earning his degree of mechanical engineering in 2019 and a master’s in engineering management a year later, the former Madison Dolphins and Huntsville Swim Association swimmer has been working fulltime since March, 2023 for Buffalo Construction Company based in Louisville as a project engineer. His company was involved in building Hotel Indigo located in Huntsville’s MidCity. The company was a huge supporter of Harting’s attempt at making another Olympics team as he worked his swim workout schedule around his work schedule training with the Louisville swim team. He also lifted weights at night after a full day’s work.

Harting and his wife, Alina Kendzior, once a swimmer for Louisville, live in Louisville proper and currently have no plans to move to another location. For the last few years he has made a living by swimming for Team USA qualifying for funding through the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming. “I never wanted to swim for money, but it was a great extra benefit,” added Harting.

Looking back on a tremendous swim career, which began at age seven at Madison’s Dublin Memorial Park, Harting is taking away a lifetime of experiences. He said his father mentioned to him a lot of people came to see him swim and were never disappointed as many of them cared enough to make the trip to the Olympic Trials in support.

“The amount of people who have congratulated me and indicated they really enjoyed watching me swim has been enormous,” said Harting. “It was then when I realized what kind of positive impact I have made.”

Harting may still tread water because that’s what he has been trained to do, but he knows he was just four feet from glory…again.

Madison

Rocket City Federal Credit Union establishes the “Detective Josh Moseley Fund” for assistance

Business

Stores, parents gearing up for sales-tax holiday

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

FCA Sports Camps- Faith And Sports

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – July 17, 2024

Madison

Madison Senior Center assists in TARCOG’s ‘Live and Live Well’ launch announcement

Madison

Canine officer, Bear, joins Madison Police force to detect devices, offer therapy

Bob Jones High School

Tosha Swearingen now serving as Rainbow Assistant Principal

James Clemens High School

Holmes accepts Assistant Principal position at Midtown

Madison

Nedjra Russell named Administrator of West Madison Pre-Kindergarten Center

Huntsville

Space & Rocket Center CEO to speak at chamber’s ‘Business Over Breakfast’

Madison

Main Street Alabama presents revitalization potential for downtown Madison

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Sparkman Grad Picked By Kansas City Royals In Major League Baseball Draft

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

“I’m Meant To Be Here”- Dell Pettus Signs With New England Patriots- Former Sparkman Player Goes Pro

Lifestyles

Get those pumpkins planted: Halloween starts in July

Events

CAFY Back to School event to be held Saturday at Calhoun’s Huntsville campus

Bob Jones High School

Teachers support DIAL Scholarship program at UAH

Events

Joe Davis Stadium to host UNA vs. Jax State collegiate soccer match Aug. 18

Huntsville

UAH announces search for a master developer to enhance college-town experience

Events

Huntsville Parks & Recreation to host inaugural Color Jam Family Fun Run & Walk

Madison

Fernandez named Assistant Coordinator of Accountability and Innovative Programs

Madison

ALEA reports 9 traffic deaths, 3 drownings over July Fourth travel period

Madison

Management institute awards scholarship to Michelle Epling

Madison

Sarah Crouch’s debut novel, ‘Middletide,’ sets whodunnit in Puget Sound

Liberty Middle School

White named Secondary Instructional Technology Specialist

x