Harnish enjoys record-setting return to league meet

  • Courtney Harnish swam in two events on Thursday, setting pool, meet and league records in each.
  • The first night of competition also saw four freshmen strike gold (three on a relay team).
  • Dover's Grace Beierschmitt put up a gold-medal swim in the 50 freestyle.

Courtney Harnish is closing the York-Adams part of her high school swimming career the same way she started it — with record-setting performances.

West York's Courtney Harnish swims in the girls' 100-yard butterfly, during the 2017 York-Adams League Swimming Championships Thursday at the Central York Aquatic Center. Harnish broke her old league record with a time of 54.93 seconds. She'll be competing in her latest national event this week at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis.

The West York senior set pool, meet and league records in one event and helped erase pool, meet and league records in anther event on the first day of the York-Adams League Girls' Swimming Championships.

Harnish broke league records in four events three years ago during a sensational freshman season, which closed with two state Class 2-A titles.

She elected to swim with her club team at the York YMCA during her sophomore and junior years before returning to high school swimming this year.

Thursday night, Harnish established new pool, meet and league records in the 100 butterfly, along with teaming with Claudia Keller, Tesia Thomas and Maddi Stoner to eclipse pool, meet and league standards in the 200 medley relay.

Harnish, who will swim at the University of Georgia, put up a time of 54.93 seconds in the butterfly, winning by almost six seconds. She began the meet by combining with Keller, Thomas and Stoner for a 1:49.93 performance in the 200 medley relay.

"I looked them (the records) up before I went to swim," Harnish said. "They were definitely a goal of mine."

Harnish handled the butterfly portion of the 200 medley relay, the first event of the night.

"It (the record) feels even better on the relay," she said. "I know those girls worked so hard and being able to accomplish it with them, it feels so great."

Harnish is top seeded going into Friday night's 500 freestyle and she's also part of the 400 freestyle relay team.

Freshmen shine: The first night of competition also saw four freshmen strike gold (three on a relay team), a swimmer improve from a second-place finish in 2016 to a first-place finish in 2017 and another swimmer win a gold medal out of Lane No. 7.

Central's Micah Sopko, a freshman, won the 200 freestyle in her first try. Sopko edged out West York's Meghan French by three-tenths of a second. Sopko finished in 1:56.52, French in 1:56.82.

"It's just so unbelievable, all the hard work paid off," Sopko said. "The whole race, I was neck and neck with Meghan French. She's one of my friends, and I was rooting for both of us. At the end, I just wanted to give my all and try to win."

Central York swimmers celebrate their win in the girls 200-yard freestyle relay in 1 minute, 41.89 seconds,  during the 2017 York-Adams League Swimming Championships Thursday at the Central York Aquatic Center.

Sopko's teammates, Kelsy Hartman, Brynn DuRand, Courtney Thornton and Gabby Miller, combined to win the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 1:41.89. Hartman, Thornton and Miller are freshmen, and DuRand is a sophomore.

"I'm so proud of them," Sopko said.

Dover's Grace Beierschmitt, smiles after winning the Girls 50 Yard Freestyle, during the 2017 YAIAA League Swimming  Championships Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at the Central York Aquatic Center, in Springettsbury Township. Amanda J. Cain photo

Dover's Grace Beierschmitt put up a gold-medal swim in the 50 freestyle after taking the silver medal in the same event last year. Beierschmitt finished in 24.86 seconds followed by Dallastown's Morgan Merrifield (25.05) and West York's Thomas (25.08).

"It was precision, speed, don't breathe and try not to drown," Beierschmitt said when asked about her winning swim.  "I'm so excited, I can't believe what happened. I'm still in shock."

In addition to grabbing the gold, Beierschmitt achieved another goal.

"I wanted to get under 25 (seconds), and I'm happy I did that," she said.

Spring Grove's Abigayle Keating's seeded time placed her in an outside lane (No. 7) for the 200 individual medley, but she was first at the finish, winning in 2:13.14. The time is three seconds better than her previous fastest performance..

"My breaststroke to freestyle turn, I didn't see anyone, but I did see Gabby (Central's Gabby Miller) when I was coming home," Keating said.

The Spring Grove senior won the eight-lap duel by 39 hundredths of a second over Miller.

Spring Grove's Abigayle Keating looks up at the scoreboard after winning the girls' 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 13.14 seconds during the 2017 York-Adams League Swimming Championships Thursday at the Central York Aquatic Center.

"It was a combination of having fast girls in the water in my heat and also my teammates on the sideline cheering me on while I was swimming." Keating said when asked what enabled her to slice three seconds off her previous best time in the event. "It was one of my goals this year to get first (at the York-Adams meet) in some event."

The competition will conclude Friday night with five events:100 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay.

Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.