This is why he is going to the Olympic trials.
Senior Rassan Grant, who will challenge world-class competitors in July, further made his mark in the collegiate world by helping the Harvard men’s swimming team upset No. 21 North Carolina (UNC) last weekend. Grant notched two individual victories in the 100- and 200-yard breastroke, a runner-up finish in the 200-yard individual medley and performed strongly in a victorious opening 200-yard medley relay.
Fatigued by a grueling training trip during the holiday break, Grant still pulled off victories in two breastroke races, winning the 100-yard breastroke with a time of 56.07, and comfortably breezing through the 200-yard breastroke in 2:03.58.
“In the 100, I kind of tried a different strategy,” Grant said. “I tend to take out the race a little slower and come back strong, but the coaches and I decided that I should take the race out strong. [In the 200] I went out smooth and came home like a bandit. It was the fastest time I’ve ever had at a dual meet when I was unshaved and unrested.”
After sweeping the two breastroke events, Grant battled in a one-on-one dual with UNC’s Tristan Davidson in the 200-yard individual medley. Although Grant was touched out at the finish, his swim was perhaps the most exciting of the day as each swimmer enlivened both squads and the crowd.
“I thought it was the most fun race of the meet.” Grant said. “It was coming down to the wire, and it was a really exciting race, neck and neck all the way through. It’s a blast when all eyes are on you and you’re doing what you love to do.”
If Grant’s three individual performance were not thrilling enough, he also helped the Crimson kick off the meet with a victory in the opening 200-yard medley relay. Grant, along with sophomore David Cromwell, junior Ryan Smith and senior Kemi George. The fearsome foursome defeated the rest of the field with a time of 1:31.76.
With performances like those at UNC under his belt, Grant has the momentum to succeed at a world-class level. Grant hopes to soon qualify for the NCAA championships in March, which would make for a fine honor to go along with his Olympic trial berth.
“I’m excited about the opportunity, since the Olympics are the ultimate end goal,” Grant said. “Many people who qualify for the Olympic trials take the year off to train, but I’m finishing out my senior year, putting myself on the line and seeing what I’ve got.”