Olympic athlete Andrea Nott ’96 knows a little something about the hard work involved to achieve excellence. “I learned that first, right here at The Harker School,” she said. More than 300 members of the Harker community gathered on Jan. 11 to participate in the opening of Harker’s aquatic center and to honor Nott as keynote speaker and member of the U.S. Olympic synchronized swim team competing in Beijing in August.
Nott, who started swimming at age 9, recalled the support she found at Harker. “I always felt my teachers were concerned about both my sport and my grades,” said Nott, who still treasures the fifth grade essay she wrote about her dream to be an Olympic competitor. “Managing school and sports can be really difficult, but it can provide a nice balance. Also, you have to learn to manage your time and energy, which is a skill that will help you for the rest of your life.”
US Athletic Director Dan Molin echoed Nott’s recognition of the parallel twins of academics and athletics. “What a great statement to build a first-class facility to match first-class academics,” said Molin, who added he most looks forward to the aquatic center’s bringing Harker teams and fans together.
Swim team captain Senan Ebrahim, Gr. 12 said he welcomes regular practices in the new pool in time for his final season at Harker. “We’ll have tighter knit teams,” predicted Ebrahim, who presented Nott with a Harker swim jacket after pouring honorary buckets of water into the pool with two dozen other Harker athletes. “And we’ll make good use of (the pool) during spring spirit activities too!”
“We are working toward a totally updated, state-of-the-art upper school campus for the 21st century,” said Head of School Chris Nikoloff, referring to the recent addition of Davis Field and the construction of the Science & Technology Center on the Saratoga site.
In the meantime, Nott is working toward securing a medal in Beijing. “We think our chances are good!” she said. “The top countries are Russia, Spain and Japan, but we are keeping a close eye on China,” said Nott, daughter of director of nursing, and Harker employee for 19 years, Debra Nott.
The young Olympian took a break from a six-days-a-week, 10 hours-a-day training schedule to sign autographs and take photos with Harker’s littlest Eagles before sending them off to add their bucket of water to the pool. “I love to be in the water first of all, but I also love to choreograph to the music and work together with my teammates to make the best product possible.” That would be the little something about excellence.
The new swimming pool building houses two 30-horse power water
circulation pumps, two heaters and a sand filtration system. It also
features two large changing rooms with restrooms, storage facilities
and a coach’s office. More facts about the pool:
488,800 gallon capacity, 75′ x 112.5′ dimension
13 swimming lanes, 10 race blocks
electronically interlinked sensors tied to an Omega
gutterless design for minimal turbulence
solar heating system
75’ x 12’ learn-to-swim area