|Full name||John Lawson Hargis|
July 3, 1975 |
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||174 lb (79 kg)|
|Club||Little Rock Raquet Club|
|College team||Auburn University|
John Lawson Hargis (born July 3, 1975) is an American former competition swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and college swimming coach. Hargis represented the United States at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. 4x100 medley relay team. He is currently the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions swimming diving team at Pennsylvania State University.
He began his competitive swimming career early on in life with Coach Paul Blair with the Arkansas Dolphins swim club based in Little Rock, Arkansas. His stroke specialties were butterfly and backstroke competing in both the 100 and 200 meter distances as well as competing in other events throughout his club swimming career. After graduating high school Hargis decided to have a collegiate swimming career and chose to attend Auburn University. While at Auburn, Hargis had several successes ending his collegiate career. He went to the 1996 Olympic Games for the 100 butterfly and also in a relay as well as in 1997, his senior year, leading his team to its first national championship ever. After Hargis' swimming career ended, he married his current wife, Lauren and two sons and a daughter John, Nathan, and Faith.
Hargis has had a number of achievements in both his coaching career and his swimming career. He was selected as one of Arkansas's 100 Greatest Athletes, three-time Southeastern Conference 100 butterfly Champion, and a 12-time College All-American. A member of the 1996 Olympic Team and also an Olympic gold medalist in the 4 X 100 Medly Relay. He was captain of 1997 National Championship Swim Team and a member of World Championship Swim Team in 1998. After his career had ended Hargis was nominated and inducted into Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001.
Hargis qualified for the US Olympic trials in 1996 and went on to compete in the meet at the age of 21 years old. He went into the meet like any other athlete, not a favorite of any sort. He moved on to make finals and win the Olympic Trials in the 100 meter butterfly in the time of 53.42 with the world record at that time set at 52.32 set by Denis Pankratov. Once at the Games, Hargis qualified for B Finals with a time of 54.06. In the B Final, he swam a time of 54.29 placing him 16th the 1996 Olympic Games. Hargis swam a time of 53.34 in the 100 butterfly on the preliminary 4x100 Medley Relay earning him a gold medal.
Hargis graduated from Auburn with his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion and Sports Management. From there he began his career as a coach. After college he served as an assistant to the athletic director at Auburn. Then he coached at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) for the 2002-2003 season. After coaching UNLV for a year he went on as an assistant for Penn State University, coaching them to back to back women's Big Ten championships. In November 2006 he moved back to Little Rock, Arkansas to coach his old club team, the Arkansas Dolphins. Shortly thereafter he was made the head coach of the club as well as the head coach of University of Arkansas, Little Rock. In July 2008, Hargis left is club team to go back to Penn State University where he served as the head coach for five years.  As of June 2013 he accepted an assistant coaching position at his Alma Matter, Auburn University.