When Courtney Harnish joined the West York High School swimming team this season, she had one main goal: to make it to states.
Qualifying for states is a lofty goal for many ninth graders, but Harnish isn't your typical freshman swimmer.
She proved that by making an immediate impact on the York-Adams League swimming scene.
So far this season, Harnish has set league-record times in three of the eight individual events: 1 minute, 49:26 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle, :55:25 in the 100-yard butterfly and :51:69 in the 100-yard freestyle. The freshman phenom also established school records in those three events along with new marks in the 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke and 50 freestyle.
"I had a little idea that I had a chance to go after some records, but I didn't have anything definite in mind," she said.
Harnish knows records. She set a slew of them while coming up through the York YMCA program.
"I started swimming when I was 6 with the Dover Aquatic Club, and I joined the Y team when I was 8," she said. "When I started taking swimming lessons, a coach told me I should start swimming with the team."
Harnish splits her training with the West York team and the York YMCA team. The transition from one practice to another is seamless since both teams use the same facility: the Graham Aquatic Center.
"I swim with my high school team from 3:30 to 4:15 and with the Y team from 4:15 to 7. I like the idea of being able to swim here for high school because I'm used to this pool, and it makes me go faster."
Harnish enjoys the competition and camaraderie of swimming.
"I like the competitive aspect, plus it's fun having all my teammates here with me. I wanted to be part of my high school team."
Red Lion meet: Harnish won two events, the 200 IM and 100 butterfly, for her team on Monday night in a crossover meet against Red Lion. She came close to her school-record time of 2:05:20 in the IM by finishing in 2:05:70.
The Lions prevailed in both meets, 118-52 in the girls' event and 109-61 in the guys' event.
Amira Washington-Myers captured the 50- and 100-yard freestyles for Red Lion, and Anne Mitzel won the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
Three Red Lion swimmers each won two events in the boys' meet. Dylan North captured the 200 and 500 freestyles, Callum Brandt prevailed in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly and Eli Aggen swept the 50 and 100 freestyles.
"This meet was postponed twice, and swimming on Saturday (at the South Western Relays) and turning around and swimming again today is unusual," Red Lion coach Chris Doemland said. "We swam all right today."
Doemland and his swimmers are looking forward to Thursday when the Lions take on Central in a York-Adams Division I meet. It will be Senior Night at Red Lion.
"We are so fired up," said Doemland who was an assistant coach at Central last year. "Our team has come a long way, and to be 4-1 going into that meet and with them (Central) undefeated, is special."
Dick VanOlinda writes about high school sports for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.