It’s that time of year again. The weather gives its first glimpses of warmer seasons, and Nathaniel Hartley brings home state swim titles.
The Lake Wylie resident, a junior at Gaston Day School, recently competed in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association championships. Hartley swam the 200-meter freestyle in 1:44:99 and the 100-meter backstroke in 52.27. Both won state titles and set state records for the division.
Swimmers only are allowed two individual events, plus team relays. Hartley has won seven state titles in three years. In the backstroke event, Hartley set a third straight state record. He won by almost four seconds.
And the two recent wins weren’t even personal best times. Hartley swims for a club team in Rock Hill and competes in a variety of championship events in both Carolinas. Overcoming a rare blood disorder to swim, Hartley was featured in a Gatorade short documentary, “Win from Within.”
Now, he has bigger goals ahead.
Hartley is training for national championships in April and will then stay an extra day for the Olympic time trials. He made the times for Olympic cuts already. But those time were converted from a 25-yard pool, and he needs to swim them in a 50-meter pool.
“Honestly, we really aren’t expecting him to make Olympics this year but it will be a good experience and give him an idea of what to expect for 2020, which is really the timing that might fit his goals better,” said his mom, Elizabeth Hartley.
John Marks: 803-831-8166