Harrison Homans Ready For Challenges In New Age Group

By Swimming World Intern Richard Kang

PISCATAWAY – It might seem peculiar to spend a trip to Europe visiting 50-meter pools instead of the more mainstream landmarks like Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower. But when you live in a state with zero long-course pools, the concept of seeing one still seems new. For Harrison Homans, there is no other way he’d imagine spending his vacation than mapping out the locations of 50-meter pools in each city.

The 14-year-old from Southern Maine Aquatics Club visited another 50-meter pool much closer to home recently. He competed in multiple events over the course of three days at the CeraVe Invitational, winning seven and breaking two meet records and three state records. One of those records came in the 400-meter individual medley, a race Homans had never swum in competition.

“It hurt a lot and I was very tired, but I felt good that I broke the state record by three seconds,” he said.

Over the course of his swimming career, Harrison has competed at more than 200 meets. The CeraVe Invitational would mark his final competition in the 13-14 age group. He had no teammates around him in New Jersey to help mark the occasion, as he attended with only his father, Frederick, while the rest of the team was racing in Massachusetts. Harrison said he chose the CeraVe meet because he “wanted more experience in the long course because long course matters for international meets.”

With each team at Rutgers boasting dozens of athletes huddled together in the athlete area, Harrison said it was tough to find the motivation to race as Southern Maine’s sole athlete.

“It’s pretty lonely being by yourself, but having no teammates to talk to gives you the opportunity to talk to different people from different places,” he said. “It’s weird by myself, but you get used to it.”

Since breaking his first state record at 10 years old in the 50 butterfly, Homans has since broken 13 state records and two New England records. He owes these achievements to his coach and father, who works as an assistant coach at Southern Maine Aquatics. A two-time Olympic Trials qualifier for the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games and the first swimmer to be selected from Maine for these Trials, Homans pushed his son to swim after Harry’s sister started the sport. Since then, the trio have toured the United States, and even competed in Germany.

“I have no expectations for Harry,” Frederick said. “I leave it up to him. I’m really only here for support. He’s got his own strategy in his mind.”

That was evident before the 200 freestyle at CeraVe, Harrison’s first event. When asked by his father about his race plan, Harrison replied, “Just watch me, Dad.” The result: a win by two seconds and a personal best by nearly three seconds.

“After that, I didn’t ask him anything anymore and let him swim.” Homans said with a chuckle.

On the final day of the CeraVe Invitational, Harrison swam in and won all three of his races. What made it more difficult was doing timed-final swims in the 400 free, 100 fly and 200 back with little to no rest, but Harrison had confidence and won all three.

With this hat trick under his belt, Homans enjoyed his last meet in his age group because “You only swim once and it’s final. The rest of (my swimming career) is going to be trials and finals.”

Harrison won the 200 backstroke by nine seconds, but the large gap between his competition didn’t mean he wanted to let up on the effort. After the first turn, Homans was a full 10 feet in front of his competition, but he refused to stop pushing, trying to improve his own times.

“I saw the guys behind me but I didn’t focus on them,” Homans said, “I wanted to make the cut for future meets like the National Championship and the (Arena Pro Swim Series).”

In his new age group, Homans hopes that these more selective meets will prepare him for his ultimate goal of swimming at the Olympic Trials like his dad. These goals are very achievable for this wonder child in the near future, and maybe his next tour of 50-meter pools around the world will allow him to race in them as a member of the USA national team.

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Karl Pepin

    Harry has the heart of a champion. As a family friend, I have watched him grow, persevere and work tirelessly to improve. He is driven to better himself and singularly focused on his goals. So kudos to Harry for his hard work, determination and success! And to his father for nurturing the natural talents in his kids, sacrificing and encouraging Harry and his sister Hannah to pursue their goals in swimming… and in life. Well done.

    • avatar
      Micaela von Richthofen

      I heartily underscore and concur with all of the above. Well said !

  2. avatar
    Dawn Murray

    Congratulations, Harry, on all of your success! As a swim mom of 3 girls swimming for Canoe City Swim Club, it’s been an absolute joy watching you over the years, excelling in this great sport! I think I can speak for coaches, athletes and parents of USS and YMCA swimming in Maine, when I say ‘Best of luck to you!’ I’m sure we’ll be seeing you in the Olympic Trials soon enough!

Author: Jeff Commings

avatar
Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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