Junior Jacob Moyar swims his freestyle warm-up in practice on on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 in Taylor Gym. Moyar is getting ready to compete in the ECACs in Maryland. (Gracie Chavers/B&W Staff)

How Jacob Moyar fell in love with swimming at Lehigh

Jacob Moyar, a junior on the men's swimming and diving team, stands on the blocks getting ready to dive into the pool to start off practice on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 in Taylor Gym. Moyar recently placed fourth in the 200 butterfly in the Patriot League Championships on Feb. 20, 2016. (Gracie Chavers/B&W Staff)

Jacob Moyar, a junior on the men’s swimming and diving team, stands on the blocks getting ready to dive into the pool to start off practice on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 in Taylor Gym. Moyar recently placed fourth in the 200 butterfly in the Patriot League Championships on Feb. 20, 2016. (Gracie Chavers/B&W Staff)

At just 6 years old, Lehigh junior Jacob Moyar began swimming competitively in his hometown’s community pool. Today, he holds multiple school records with the ultimate goal of one day qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the 200-yard butterfly.

Although the Virginia native has been swimming for over 15 years, he didn’t fall in love with the sport until he came to Lehigh and started training with the rest of the swimming and diving team. Once he got to Lehigh, it didn’t take long for Moyar to stand out from his teammates. With five new records for Lehigh — three personal and two in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays — Moyar continues to impress.

Moyar said he couldn’t set these records without help from swimming and diving coaches Rob Herb and Erin Matyus.

“(Herb) and (Matyus) have been working hard to get myself and the rest of the distance swimming group prepared for swimming a lot of yardage in a short amount of time,” Moyar said. “Having that conditioning base behind my back going into the Patriot League Championships definitely made a huge difference and allowed me to crank out those times in back-to-back races.”

Last weekend, Lehigh finished sixth in the Patriot League Championships, finishing with a total of 250 points. Moyar set a school record in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:46.78 and was one of the four Mountain Hawks that finished third in the 400 freestyle relay team. Moyar, junior Jamal Willis, sophomore Zach Tieke and junior Justin White all contributed to the final time of 2:58.48. Overall, Moyar led the team with 45 points, placing him ninth overall.

Though Moyar has been one of Lehigh’s top swimmers this season, he said achieving these personal and school records hasn’t been easy.

“It hurt, a lot,” Moyar said about attaining his personal record times. “But that’s how you know you’re giving everything you’ve got. It was nice to see all of the hard work from earlier in the season paying off.”

The Lehigh swimming and diving program has also noticed the junior’s hard work and accomplishments this season, labeling him as an incredible teammate.

“(Moyar) cares so deeply for this team, and it shows in not only how he trains, but also how he cheers on and encourages other team members,” White said. “He had a record-breaking season where not only did he swim well, but he was consistently selfless and tough as the season progressed.”

Moyar said much of his accomplishments can be credited to his older brother, Nate.

“He has definitely been my inspiration,” Moyar said. “He started swimming at the same time I did. Watching him grow up and succeed in all aspects of life, due partly to the skills swimming gave him, inspired me to stick with it through the tough spots. When he told me how great swimming was in college, I knew I had to try it myself.”

While Moyar has certainly had a successful college swimming career thus far, he hopes to perform even better in his senior year. He said he wants either the team or some individual swimmers to win a Patriot League Championship.

Moyar also said that even though the offseason is approaching, he will not stop swimming. Instead, he will be preparing to qualify for the Olympic Trials 200 butterfly.

In December, Moyar attended the AT&T U.S. Winter National Championships where he competed in the 200 meter fly. Moyar finished in 2:02.86 while the Olympic Trial qualifying mark was 2:01.99.

Moyar said he plans to swim in meets this summer, which he hopes will help him reach that qualifying time.

“It’s been truly delightful to be Jacob’s teammate these past three years,” senior Sean Daugherty said. “Knowing his work ethic, he’ll probably set three new records next year too.”

Moyar, a mechanical engineering major, has earned himself a number of titles this season, such as Second Team All-Patriot League, Lehigh Swimming Male Outstanding Athlete and he even a place on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. However, for Moyar, the most gratifying part of this season has been watching his team grow.

“My favorite part of this season was watching our first-years adjust to their new college training,” he said. “My first year on the team was incredibly important to my development into a college level varsity athlete. To watch our 15 first-years have similar positive experiences has been one of the most rewarding things for me this season.”

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