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BLOG: West York's Harnish rated top 2017 swim recruit

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker

Rising West York High School senior Courtney Harnish is used to standing atop podiums after swim meets.

Now, she sits atop another noteworthy podium — Swim Swam's official Class of 2017 recruiting rankings. Harnish is rated the No. 1 girls' college swimming recruit in the nation for the Class of 2017, as of July 1, the official beginning to the recruiting period for the upcoming senior class.

West York senior Courtney Harnish has given a verbal commitment to swim for the University of Georgia. She is returning to the Bulldogs' swim team this season after a two-year hiatus.

Harnish, who swims out of the York YMCA, has already exhibited her abilities on the national and international scene, swimming in several key events for Team USA, including, most recently, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

By claiming the top spot in the rankings, it's the second straight year that a York YMCA swimmer has occupied that spot, after Lineboro, Maryland, native Meghan Small was rated No. 1 last year for the Class of 2016. She later committed to the University of Tennessee, where she'll begin swimming this fall.

Harnish excels in long-distance events, but has shown development and growth in all strokes across the board. Here is Swim Swam's official breakdown of Harnish:

1. Courtney Harnish – York YMCA – West York Area High School – York, PA
Best Times: 500 free – 4:39.13, 200 fly – 1:54.37, 200 free – 1:45.62, 1650 free – 16:08.57, 400 IM – 4:11.93, 100 fly – 52.87, 100 back – 54.04, 200 back – 1:55.41

For the second-straight year, a York YMCA swimmer is our top girls recruit. Harnish is more distance-oriented than 2016’s Meghan Small, but has the same brand of across-the-board versatility. 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.

According to York YMCA head coach Michael Brooks, schools could begin contacting Harnish and other swimmers in the Class of 2017 once a week beginning July 1 under old guidelines. However, beginning on Aug. 1 of this year, recruiting rules will change. Once August rolls around, schools can begin contacting Harnish and other swimmers in her class as much as they want, whenever they want.

Harnish swam for West York High School during her freshman year, qualifying for the PIAA Class AA state championships and setting a couple state records in the process. However, she elected not to swim for her school team as a sophomore and junior, choosing to swim solely for the York YMCA to focus on competing in international competition for Team USA, as well as preparing for the Olympic Trials.

But, Harnish said she will swim for the Bulldogs in her upcoming senior season.

Harnish said that it's "exciting" being the top recruit in the nation.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com