Harting makes big waves & receives Golden Goggles nomination

October 16, 2018

 Senior mechanical engineering student Zach Harting has been making quite a splash as part of the UofL Swim & Diving team lately. Harting was recently recognized for his talents receiving a nomination for the Golden Goggles award, which honors and celebrates the U.S. National Swim Team and serves as an important fundraiser for the USA Swimming Foundation.

A native of Madison, Ala., Harting has been a competitive swimmer for 14 years. As his skills improved, he began entering and succeeding in competitions, which only offered further encouragement.

“My mom made me try out for the team when we moved to Huntsville, Ala. when I was 7 and I fell in love with it and haven't stopped,” said Harting. “That's how I got to where I am today.”

Since arriving at the Speed School, Harting has taken great care to balance his academic and athletic pursuits. To do so, he manages and compartmentalizes his time, focusing only on the task at hand. That rigorous commitment to schedule involves allocating the appropriate times to prepare proper meals, rehab, exercise, attend classes, study, and to do homework.

“I focus on one thing at a time, which is wherever my feet are. It does me no good to focus on school when I'm at practice or focus on practice while I'm in class,” said Harting. “I revolve my schedule around practice, but am aware of my academic responsibilities and the time required to get them done on time. It's not easy, especially in this major.”

While it may seem that his athletic and academic pursuits offer only a narrow overlap, Harting often finds his mind wonder to his Fluids Mechanics course. There he calculated forces acting on submerged walls, considering the necessary energy to push forward. That continued into his second Fluid Mechanics course, where he learned to determine if flow over a surface was laminar, transitional, or turbulent.

Unsurprisingly, he has employed those lessons in real life, during meets.

“At a Pro Swim Series in Mesa, an outdoor competition, it got really windy... to the point little waves were being made in the pool from the wind,” said Harting. “I quickly informed everyone around me that the flow at the surface of the water was (unfortunately for us) turbulent.”

His education as a mechanical engineer major and his efforts as an athlete allow Harting options post graduation. While he dreams of becoming a professional swimmer, he is also open to designing equipment for other swimmers, or to pursue something in the fluid/thermodynamics field.

In focusing on the present, Harting is able to appreciate moments as they arrive. It’s here that Harting is ultimately humbled by his opportunities.

“Winning a Golden Goggle would be a symbol that my country recognizes and has pride in what I've done so far,” said Harting. “Even if I don't win, just being nominated for this award still means the same thing.”

Learn more about Harting in his own words. Voting closes on November 9. You can vote for Harting to win the Golden Goggles at this link.