Harkins adds name to record books


Justin Brown

Sophomore Nick Harkins swam his way into Eastern’s record books during the Summit League Championships Feb. 15-18 in Indianapolis. Harkins set a new school record in the 100-IM with a time of 52.97.

Tyler McCluskey, Assistant Sports Editor

Fifty-two point ninety-seven seconds. That is the amount of time it took for sophomore Nick Harkins to finish the 100-Individual Medley at the Summit League Championships and set an Eastern record.

Minutes before Harkins got on the block, teammate junior Matt Jacobs broke the record in the same newly added event in the time of 53.40. At the House of Champions in November, Harkins set the record with a time of 54.54. In the preliminary round at the championships, Harkins then beat Jacobs time with a 53.04 and then, in the final round, broke that record. So there was some friendly competition between Harkins and Jacobs and Jacobs said that friendly competition is nothing new to the team.

“With that being a new event there were a lot of people looking to get the top time,” Jacobs said. “Nick was able to come out on top. I always welcome friendly competition within our team.”

In weeks leading up to the championships, the Eastern swim teams were more focused on sprints. Harkins got to the block and was next to the fastest swimmer in the Summit League and was not worried about anyone, just himself. Harkins would finish eighth in the event but still beat the record.

“I’ve trained hard all season for it, so I just went for it,” Harkins said.

When talking about training, coach Jacqueline Michalski said he works hard and is confident when it comes to swimming.

“Without actually counting all the yards and practices, I would say with comfort that he did the most amount of yards on our team,” Michalski said. “Even when he was sick, or not feeling 100 percent, he would still be in the pool, training on the fastest interval, doing the most amount of yards.”

In the last turn of the 100-Individual Medley, Harkins said he was tired.

“I kind of had to power through,” Harkins said. “It was more about tempo than anything else. I was just flailing my arm as fast as I could to make sure I got to the wall.”

When making the decision for having Harkins swim the 100-Individual Medley, Michalski said Harkins has the ability to swim in different events.

“When we took a look at the events for conference our goal was to pick an event he would be able to score the highest in which happened to be the 100-IM,” Michalski said.

Harkins set a goal to make it back in a few events at the beginning of the season but only scored in this one event and scored for the Panthers and that is all he wanted to do. Michalski said that early in the season Harkins was not in the best of shape.

“Nick had some work to do at the start of the season,” Michalski said. “His freshman year he came to campus in shape, and I think he would agree with me saying he did not come into this season in the best shape. Don’t get me wrong, he was still able to swim and swim well, however he knew he wasn’t at the level he needed to be.”

Looking forward to next season, Harkins said that he wants to gain muscle, calling himself a “skinny guy” and do better in the 200-freestyle event. Michalski said the team will focus on strength in the offseason, so Harkins goal of not being that “skinny guy” will increase by lifting. Another focus for the offseason is going to be dry land training.

Harkins said the team did better than last year with having less people on the team and scoring more points and said that with the class coming in next year, they will be able to build upon what they did this season.

Tyler McCluskey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]