Ashburn, Va. — Briar Woods High School junior Abby Harter has made an early verbal commitment to continue her swimming career at the University of Virginia beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year.
“It has been a crazy two months visiting colleges. I visited awesome schools, met great teams and loved all of them,” the 5-foot-8 Harter said. “To know now that UVA is my future home is so exciting, and I still cannot believe it is true.”
Harter’s journey to UVA started in September when six dozen schools contacted the All-American. She quickly narrowed down her search to eight schools then a final four: the University of Florida, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas and the University of Virginia.
“I had seen the [UVA] coaches and team on deck at national meets, and they had so much energy and enthusiasm. My official visit at UVA had that same excitement,” Harter said. “I loved the team, the campus and all the other recruits. It truly felt like home! It was clear Coach DeSorbo was building a top program, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
Led by second-year head coach Todd DeSorbo, the Division I Cavaliers are one of the most feared women’s swim teams in the country and are currently ranked No. 7 in the nation.
“Coach DeSorbo has a master plan for making UVA a national champion. I hope to be a part of building that team,” Harter said. “Six of my best times would have scored in the ACC Championships last year, and I hope with still two more years of high school before I even join the team, I can improve and contribute even more.”
Harter has made a name for herself in Loudoun, twice being named the All-LoCo Swimmer of the Year. In 2017-2018, Harter turned in Top-12 LoCo Top Times in all eight individual events, including the fastest time in the 200-yard IM and 100-yard breaststroke.
Her continued success led Briar Woods to the 2018 VHSL Region 5C championship and a third-place finish at the 2018 VHSL 5A State championship.
“High school swimming is the absolute best. It is all about the team and winning for the team,” Harter said. “I’ve known most of the kids on the Briar Woods team for years. Many of them swam with me during summer league in the neighborhood. It’s really cool to grow up together and be able to be on the high school team together. I am looking forward to starting another year with them and working together as we try to get our goal of a state championship.”