Zach Harting and Andrej Barna, two former University of Louisville swimmers, will compete at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
Harting will compete in the 200m butterfly for the United States. Barna will swim in the 100m freestyle, and as a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay for Serbia.
Harting, originally from Madison, Alabama, will take the place of Michael Phelps, who had been on the team since 2000 but is now retired.
“I’m grateful of the past that the U.S. has had in this event, just an absolute domination,” Harting said. “I want to go over there and continue that.”
Harting qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials with the 200m butterfly. He placed seventh at those trials. He’s won other awards for butterfly competitions during high school and college, including the World University games and the Pan Pacific Championships. In the International Swimming League, Harting was a DC Trident and competed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Naples, Italy in 2021 for them.
“I realized in 2018 when I went over for Pan Pacs that I was going over to swim for me, because I was the one that got myself up in the morning and I was the one that shed the blood, sweat and tears and all of the effort that it took to get there,” Harting said. “I’m going to go over there and swim for me because this is my dream since I was seven, to make it to the Olympic Team for the U.S. in really any event.”
The Tokyo Olympics are not allowing foreign spectators. Harting said this might be better because his parents have had some health problems and may not have been able to go. His parents will be watching the event on television.
Andrej Barna didn’t think he would make the team in 2020. He had some surgeries in 2019 that he didn’t know if he would come back from. Then the games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, giving him more time to recover.
“For me, that extra year was, I think that was the best thing that could have happened to me,” Barna said. “Back in 2020, I truly didn’t have a great season, so I didn’t know what was going to happen with qualifying for Olympics.”
Barna, from Subotica, Serbia, is a two-time Serbian National Champion and represented Serbia at the 2019 World Aquatics Championship in the 50m freestyle and as a part of the 4x200m freestyle relay. At the 2018 Mediterranian Games in Tarragona, Spain he won the gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Harting and Barna will compete alongside three other former UofL swimmers: Grigory Tarsevich will swim for Russia, Tatiana Salcutan for Moldova, and Marcelo Acosta for El Salvador.