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Quaker Valley gold-medal winning swimmer Harkins commits to SUNY Geneseo

| Monday, April 10, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Quaker Valley swimmer Harry Harkins
Quaker Valley swimmer Harry Harkins

A powerful feeling came over Quaker Valley senior Harry Harkins as he visited the State University of New York Geneseo campus in upstate New York.

Harkins, 18, of Bell Acres promises to have a similar impact on the Knights' men's swimming team, to which he recently committed for the 2017-18 season.

Knights' coach Paul Dotterweich expects Harkins to jump in on relays at the conference and national levels.

“I felt he was right in line (for) what we are looking for,” Dotterweich said.

The Knights earned their 24th State University of New York Athletic Conference title, fourth in a row and 16th in 17 years under Dotterweich this season. Their 400-yard freestyle relay placed 20th in the NCAA Division III championship meet, where they were 23rd of 50 teams overall.

“I primarily chose SUNY Geneseo because it pairs academic excellence with an exemplary athletic program,” said Harkins, who also considered Arcadia, Dickinson and Gettysburg. “I grew to admire its small-town feel (and) applaud its extensive praise for volunteerism.

“I immediately felt a sense of tranquility from the vast, skyline view right at the edge of campus.”

Quaker Valley coach Jacinta Batisky said the Knights were thrilled to have Harkins after his performance in the WPIAL Class AA championship.

Harkins, who is 6-foot-2, placed first in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and anchored the 200 freestyle relay that won. He earned an eighth-place medal in the relay at the PIAA championship meet.

He led the Quakers to their third consecutive WPIAL title, and contributed to the 2015 team that was PIAA champion.

“It seemed like Harry had a nice connection during his visit,” Batisky said. “It definitely seems like a good fit.”

John Nemeth, Harkins' age-group coach, said the Knights are lucky to gain Harkins.

“Harry is by far one of the most dedicated swimmers I've ever had the opportunity to coach,” Nemeth said. “His tireless work ethic will serve him well there, both in the pool and classroom.

“As a swimmer, he will bring a ton of versatility to the program.”

Harkins is undecided about a major, but hopes to attend graduate school.

“I am looking forward to SUNY Geneseo's liberal arts approach, which will hopefully guide my decision,” he said.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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