Alissa Leung, '15, practices with the women's swim team at Taylor Gym on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. The women's team is preparing for the upcoming Patriot League Championships beginning this week. (Conner Welty/B&W photo)

Lehigh women’s swimming and diving team to compete in Patriot League Championships


After claiming a fifth-place finish last year, the women’s swimming and diving team starts another hopeful postseason.

A 6-4 team comprised of 18 swimmers and two divers will travel to Bucknell University on Feb. 18-21 to compete against for the Patriot League Championship.

“We have been in fifth for as long as I can remember,” senior Madi Smith said. “But we’ve had a lot of really close meets this year and were only a few points from beating Army. So, we are really going after them at Patriots because they are in 4th.”

To begin preparing for the championship, the team went into a period of taper where they swam fewer yardages in order to give their muscles a break. This allowed the swimmers to be well rested and prepared to achieve their best times at Patriots. Along with tapering, the team has been focusing on the details of the swims at practice.

“The details include working on starts, turns and stroke counts,” junior Courtney Patterson said. “These little details add up in any race so we have been putting more focus on them as Patriots gets closer. We have also been practicing a lot of relay starts to get ready for the relays.”

The team has high hopes for the championships because of what they have achieved so far this season. The Mountain Hawks currently hold a winning record for the second year in a row and they had many successful, fast swims at the Lehigh-Lafayette meet. In addition, six girls have gone to nationals and many of the swimmers are seeded high, including a first place seed in the 400 freestyle.

“We hope to improve our finish this year and our goal is for every girl to score points and for us to score 500 points overall as a team,” sophomore Cora Summerfield said.

With a team of experienced upperclassmen and a group of strong freshmen swimmers that will be competing in their first Patriot League Championship, the team is set on achieving its goals and coming out strong against the other competitive teams in the league. The swimmers’ hard work and chemistry in and out of the pool will also contribute to their goal of improving on their fifth place finish.

“We have a closer-knit group than I’ve ever been apart before,” Smith said. “We’ve really accomplished a lot so far and I’m really excited to see how we do in the league because it could be bigger than we expect and bigger than other people in the league expect.”

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