Harry Hearn’s confidence surfaced in a big way last season, in an awfully big spot.
“He exploded on the state level last season,” La Salle coach Stephen Duncheskie said.
Hearn’s eighth-place medal in the 200-yard freestyle was followed by a seventh-place medal in the 500, helping to power the Explorers to the PIAA-3A State Title.
He has even bigger goals set for this year, as La Salle aims to defend its title.
“This season, I would like to reach the A Final again at states in both the 200 and 500 free. I want to drop three seconds in my 200 from states last year and get under a 4:30 in my 500,” the senior said. “Also, I would like to use my advantage as a senior to have an impact on one or many freshman and sophomores, just because I have been impacted by upperclassmen from La Salle that helped me become the swimmer I am today.”
There’s no other season Hearn wanted to be prepared for more. But preparation was the toughest part.
“It’s definitely been crazy, considering the time we are in,” the freestyler said. “I have been training with Upper Dublin Aquatic Club, where most practices have been outdoors even through January. I think once we get back in the pool at La Salle, we will be ready to train and grind like we did last year.”
This past week brought a return to the home pool at La Salle. It didn’t take long for the Explorers to get settled back in.
Said Hearn: “We are ready to get right back and do what we’ve been doing every year – holding each other accountable. We are very excited, to say the least, and very confident.”
The down time wasn’t all that bad. It provided swimmers a chance to spend time with other activities.
“I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with my family, playing video games with my brother, doing some art, and listening to music,” Hearn said.
The Explorers will be going for their seventh state title in the past 10 years in Class 3A. That tradition is carried on in different ways.
“You don’t realize how unique La Salle is until you become an upperclassman,” Hearn said. “The best years of my life were spent in the pool, at pasta dinners, the yearly banquet, and at school.
“These are my brothers and I want to make sure that every freshman on the swim team has the chance to experience La Salle swimming’s incredible atmosphere and traditions.”
La Salle was a balanced machine by the time states rolled around last March. The Explorers piled up 162 points at the big meet at Bucknell.
Hearn raced to a time of 1 minute, 41.14 seconds in the 200 free to earn eighth and contribute to the La Salle cause. He then came through in the marathon event, pushing to a 4:35.38 in the 500 to edge Perkiomen Valley’s Jacob Replogle (4:35.51) and claim seventh and another medal.
“Big meets can make or break a swimmer,” Hearn said. “You either treat it like any other meet, or the big crowd and the cameras at states get to your head. My first time at states last year, I just thought to myself that I’ve been doing this all year long, there’s nothing more that I can do, the work is in, and I just have to perform like I did at any other meet or at practice.”