One-on-one with David Harmon
Dave Harmon ’17 will leave Dartmouth as one of the top swimmers in school history. The Severna Park, Maryland, native owns the College records in the 100-yard butterfly (47.9 seconds) and 200-yard butterfly (1.48.6s), the latter of which he set in 2014. Harmon’s record-setting performance in the 100-yd fly at last weekend’s men’s Ivy League Championship was the highlight of the meet for the Big Green.
Tell us about the records you hold.
DH: I had both records before the last meet, but I was able to reset the record for the 100-yd fly earning my new best time in it. I’ve set the record twice in the 100-yd fly, but in the 200-yd fly I’ve only set the record once. I’ve never been able to reset it, and I accomplished that in 2014.
What keeps you motivated to set records?
DH: Well there’s a giant board by the pool with all the records, so I think that helps. Sometimes I can also just be really competitive. I was a freshman with Nejc Zupan ’14 who is maybe the king of school records. I know he has the 1000-yard freestyle, the 1650-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard individual medley, and he was also on a couple great relay teams. Anyways, when I was a freshman, the 200-yd fly record was set by Zupan at an in-season meet just to annoy me because he knew I had really wanted it. Setting that record was one of my first goals when I got here, so I was pretty devastated. It had felt like a horror show, so then I stepped it up and got my 200-yd fly record in the following meet at championships.
How does it feel to be setting the bar for future swimmers for the Big Green?
DH: I came to this school, and I wanted to swim fast. My success in swimming is a big reason why I even got into Dartmouth in the first place, and it’s why I’ve been able to stay a part of this team. Besides having those records, hopefully my racing legacy leaves behind the value of working hard for the swimmers. I do think that it could be beat, even pretty soon. There’s a guy in this recruiting class that will be close right out of the gate, and that just shows how our team keeps getting faster every single year.
Where do you see the state of Dartmouth’s swimming and diving program after you graduate?
DH: I’m very optimistic about our recent coaching change. I think the men’s head coach James Holder did a good job this year increasing the excitement that the team had started to lose. It was really cool to get to championships, and it was like I remembered my freshman year to see how people were really excited to race. It felt special to achieve my best time in the finals, especially with my teammates doing well and feeding off each other. We were all really happy with our times, and I think that is a good sign going forward.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.