As a youngster, Zach Harting wore the camouflage trunks of the Redstone Launchers swim team.
Now he has a U.S. Olympic uniform.
The Madison native won the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, qualifying to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, July 23-Aug. 8.
His parents, Scott and Lori Harting, both work at the Aviation and Missile Command.
Scott is a supervisor, logistics management specialist, while Lori is a systems coordinator.
“Putting on the USA cap doesn’t just mean that I’m representing my country,” Harting said while training in Hawaii. “It’s a testament to the hard work I’ve put into this sport, the sacrifices I’ve made to get here, and the nights where I laid in bed dreaming of being here.
“This is the team of teams to be on, the best of the best. When you think of Team USA, you think of the Olympic team – not the World Championship team or the Pan Pac team. And that is what’s vindicating for me is that I’ve made it to the top, to the best swim team in the world. It’s an honor and a privilege because I know there are lots of others that would love to be here so I don’t take it for granted.”
Harting, 23, attended Bob Jones High School and he was the high school state champion in the 100-yard butterfly in 2014. He swam collegiately at the University of Louisville from 2015-19.
He swam for the Redstone Launchers which competed in the Rocket City Swim League. In the annual city swim meet in July 2014 at the Brahan Spring Park Natatorium, Harting won the boys 15-17 freestyle, butterfly and backstroke.
During the dual meet season, he swam a record 50-meter butterfly in 23.52 on June 18, 2014.
When the Launchers started in 2010, Colette Migliozzi, of Brownsboro, coached the team for its first five years. She coached Harting all five years. She also coached Ryan Murphy, three-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the 100-meter backstroke, when he swam for the club team Episcopal Swimming in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2006. That was before she moved in 2008 from Jacksonville to Huntsville. Murphy, now 26, won gold medals in the 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter backstroke and 4x100m medley at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. He will represent the U.S. in the 100-meter backstroke in Tokyo.
“I’m pretty proud of the fact that I had two Olympians on my squad,” Migliozzi said.
She remembers a conversation she had with Harting during their first summer with the Launchers.
“I’m going to the Olympics one day, Coach,” Harting said.
“I believe you will,” Migliozzi replied.
Not currently coaching, she expressed her pride for her former pupil.
“I’m just so proud of Zach,” Migliozzi said. “Oh my goodness. He deserves it.”
Arthur Fortin succeeded her as the Launchers coach. The Launchers did not have a team this year because of the pandemic. Fortin, the Huntsville High School coach, also works at the Huntsville Swim Association where he serves as an age group coach.
Fortin did not coach Harting but remembers him from club swimming and high school swimming.
“I think it’s absolutely amazing,” Fortin said of Harting becoming an Olympian. “Zach always had a positive fun way of approaching everything. He’d always find a way to have fun at practice and he was always one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.”