Noelle Harvey Chooses Washington State after Iowa Hawkeyes Dump Swimming

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High school senior Noelle Harvey, upon her initial college commitment, was well ahead of the game. Her original commitment came in November of 2019 to the University of Iowa, making her one of the Hawkeyes’ first commitments in that class.

But two weeks ago, that preparation was thrown for a loop when Iowa announced that it would be cutting its swimming & diving programs at the end of the 2020-2021 season.

For Harvey, that meant back into the recruiting pool to look for a new home, and it didn’t take her long. This week, she announced her new commitment, to Washington State University, citing the draw of the “highly competitive atmosphere” of the Pac-12 Conference, and the new energy brought to the program by 3rd-year head coach Matt Leach.

I am very excited and honored to announce my verbal commitment to Washington State University! Thank you to NCA, my teammates, coaches and parents for the amount of support throughout my swimming.  I can’t wait to study, train and compete for WSU!  GO COUGS!!  #wsucougars

Harvey is a native of San Marcos, California. At her last big meet before the coronavirus pandemic halted most athletics competitions, she swam to a 4th place finish in the 200 yard back (1:59.48) and an 8th place finish in the 100 yard back (56.10) at the Carlsbad Sectionals.

At December’s East LA Sectionals, she finaled in 6 events, with a high finish in the 200 back. At that meet, she was a 2:02.00 in the 200 back, two-and-a-half slower than she swam in February, but 5596 in the 100 back – faster than in February.

A versatile swimmer, Harvey races well in the freestyle events 500 yards and shorter in addition to the backstroke events.

  • 50 free- 23.46
  • 100 free-  50.78
  • 200 free- 1:50.15
  • 500 free- 4:50.34
  • 100 back- 55.66
  • 200 back-  1:59.48

Last season at the Pac-12 Championships, the Cougars finished 8th out of 8 teams with 396 points – well behind 7th-place Utah, which had 636.5 points. That means that the Cougars, at this point, need conference championship meet scorers of any shape or size, and Harvey fits that bill.

With a year to go before her college career begins, and two full seasons to go before her first Pac-12 Championship meet, Harvey already has a time in the 200 backstroke that would have qualified for the scoring C final at last year’s Pac-12 Championships.

She’s also close to scoring times in the 100 back (55.46) and 500 free (4:49.24). What’s more, she will immediately improve the Cougars’ 800 free relay that finished 7th at last year’s Pac-12 Championship and is close to a spot in the 200 and 400 free relays as well.

While Harvey’s contribution projects to be beyond just the mid-distance freestyles, that is an area where Washington State has had success under Matt Leach. Most notably in the form of rising junior Keiana Fountaine, who in 2 seasons at Washington State has improved her best time in the 200 free from 1:52.46 to 1:46.14. She finished 17th at the Pac-12 Championships last season.

While Washington State finished in the same spot at last season’s Pac-12 Championship meet as they have every year since 2017, there are signs of a brighter future. They scored more points at the 2020 championship than they have since 2016, albeit with one fewer team after Oregon State dropped its program. The one-year point jump was 111.5 points.

What’s more, the Cougars return their top six individual scorers from last year’s Pac-12 Championship meet, graduating only 13 out of 153 individual points.

Harvey joins a class of 2021 that includes a number of freestylers, including Texans Taylor Schababerle (1:51.3/5:00.4) and Noelle Marsh (23.5/51.6/1:53.4). Minnesotan Sophie Macy (2:03/4:21 IMer, 1:04/2:17 breaststroker) brings some versatility to the class. While all have Pac-12 scoring potential, Harvey is the first addition to the class who already has Pac-12 scoring times.

Harvey attends La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad and trains for North Coast Aquatics.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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5 days ago

Way to go, Noelle! As a U of I grad, and former donor, I’m glad you found a new home. Good luck! Hopefully, we all get to read more SwimSwam articles about you and your team.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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