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Olivia Harvey makes a cross-country return to the home of the Cougars

The cross-country travels will be continuing for swimmer Olivia Harvey.

After spending the 2019-2020 season in Sudbury, splitting her time between the Nickel City Aquatics and Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club, the current resident of Cobourg has committed to the University of Regina Cougars for the fall of 2021.

This is, at least in part, a return home for the nomadic 17 year-old athlete.

"I moved to Saskatchewan when I was 12 and started going to (swim) camps a year or two later," Harvey said recently. "I trained a lot with Craig (U of R ass't coach Craig Nieuwstad) and I love him. I attended U of R vs Swim Saskatchewan recruitments meets there."

"I know the coaches, I know that they are really good coaches, I've seen the success they've had, and I have a lot of friends going there."

The announcement of her post-secondary intentions caps off a very interesting stretch for Harvey, both in and out of the pool, coming off a super successful campaign cut short.

"I was doing very well, about to go to Olympic Trials - and then everything got shut down," she said. "Then we had that huge break and we're just getting back into it now. It was quite frustrating."

"That was the year when I was actually going somewhere."

Ironically, the recruitment news comes right on the heels of a so-so return to the pool, with Harvey just back from double jaw surgery in August.

"When I moved back to Cobour (March/2020), I wasn't allowed to swim with their team, because I was still a SLSC swimmer," she explained. "So I drove up for a week and swam with LU in the lake. Then I would do free swim, by myself, when I was back here."

"I am just getting back into shape after all that."

In that sense, Harvey is extremely thankful for the relationship that has been established both with coach Nieuwstad, as well as with Abderrahmane (Damon) Tissira, head coach of the University of Regina swim team.

"I know that he knows how hard I work," she said. "He knows that when I get there, I will do everything that I can to try and keep up, to get to where everybody else is. He has the trust in me to know that I can do that."

Back in the water in Cobourg, Harvey now has that little bit of extra motivation on her side, preparing for what she hopes will be a return to competition for all of U Sport athletics for the 2021-2022 season.

"Right now, I am taking the practices that I have and trying to push them as hard as I can," she said. "In year one (at Regina), I imagine trying to get back to where I was before, maybe improving a little."

"The next four years, after that, it will be let's go and improve" - and stay put, in one location, at least for a bit.

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