Morse High senior Olivia Harper was a three-time Class B state champion in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100 backstroke. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

If Todd Marco were to make an instructional video, the Morse High swimming coach knows exactly the person to demonstrate each stroke, turn and racing dive.

Morse senior Olivia Harper “has perfect technique and such an efficient stroke,” Marco said. “A lot of that comes from stretching and flexibility and paying attention to all the details.”

Harper is a four-time Varsity Maine All-State selection who has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in June and plans to continue her career at the University of Tennessee in the fall. Her high school career includes state records in three individual events: 54.22 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke, 2:02.35 in the 200 individual medley and 23.33 in the 50 freestyle.

Olivia Harper of Morse High was named the Performer of the Meet at the Class B state championships. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

At the Class B state meet, she won her third title in the 100 butterfly (54.99) and the 100 backstroke (lowering her meet record to 54.28). She was named Performer of the Meet.

She is our choice as Varsity Maine Swimmer of the Year.

“I really like the part of swimming where you control how good you do,” Harper said. “What you put in is what you get out.”

Harper’s twin sister, Haily, is also an accomplished swimmer who plans to continue her sport in college, but has yet to decide where. They live in Woolwich and are not identical.

At Tennessee, Olivia plans to study health and human sciences with the career goal of becoming a neonatal nurse. She said she loves working with children.

Marco said Harper proved adept at instructing younger swimmers both at the high school and middle school levels in Bath.

“You could see the smile on her face when she was doing it,” he said.

Harper spoke during a break from her club practice earlier this month. She swims for Long Reach and is preparing for the U.S.S. state championships in Orono later this month. The YMCA Short Course Nationals will follow, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Her favorite part about her final high school swim season?

“I would have to say practices,” she said. “We had a super close team this year. It was really fun to bring all the freshmen up and show them all the drills, even going through the harder sets.”

Outside of the pool, Harper likes to spend time with friends and family. She fishes and hunts, following in the footsteps of both her father and grandfather. Her dad taught her to shoot a bow and arrow, as well as a pellet gun.

“I tried some deer meat once and liked it, so I thought that would be really cool to go hunting with my dad,” she said. “It’s a great experience for me and him to have some alone time, some bonding time.”

She said she didn’t get a deer in the most recent hunting season, but did manage to bring down a spike-horn buck in her first year of high school.

In order to qualify for the Olympic Trials, Harper needed to break 1:02.69 in the 100-meter backstroke. She made it by .03 at last year’s Summer Nationals.

Her backstroke time this winter garnered automatic All-America status, and Marco believes her times in the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly will earn All-America honors as well.

Just watching her swim is something that I’ll remember forever,” Marco said. “Her starts, her stroke, her turns – they’re something you want to imprint in your mind of how to do it correctly.”

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