Potential Swim-Off Set Up Between Harting, Smachlo For 100 Fly A Final


The Dark Knight Returns… for a swim-off, that is. A tie for 8th place in the men’s 100 fly has forced a likely swim-off between Batman-themed showman Zach Harting and Michigan’s hero-slayer Miles Smachlo for the last lane in the A final.

Both men went 53.16 this morning to tie for 8th place – lifetime-bests in both cases. But only one can make the A final, with some very real international team significance falling on a potential swim-off between the two.

Harting will be a junior at Louisville and Smachlo a sophomore at Michigan next year, so both are eligible for the World University Games team. The top two spots in the A final will qualify swimmers for the World Championships, and the next two eligible swimmers will make World University Games. With two of the top seven (Tim Phillips and Tom Shields) ineligible for World University Games, the winner of this swim-off could make that travel team with as low as a 6th-place finish tonight. That makes today’s swim-off that much more dramatic.

Harting is memorable to many for his regular Batman-themed antics before races. He showed up behind the blocks for the Olympic Trials 200 fly final wearing a Batman mask and matching onesie, and in the 200 fly final two days ago, he had the Batman logo emblazoned on his chest. He cut two tenths this morning off his former lifetime-best, a 53.30 from last summer’s U.S. Open.

Smachlo, on the other hand, has shown up this week a hero-slayer. In the 200 fly, Smachlo snuck in for 8th place, denying last year’s Olympic representative Tom Shields a spot in the A final by a tenth. His swim this morning was a drop of almost a second and a half from his previous best of 54.45.

Harting finished 6th in the 200 fly and Smachlo 8th on Tuesday. Both have outstanding endurance, which should make today’s swim-off a knock-down-drag-out to rival Frank Miller’s famous comic run The Dark Knight Returns. Stay tuned for continuing coverage.

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This guy is going to get into finals and win it. Why? BECAUSE HE’S BATMAN!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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