A Saturday football game is not the only rivalry game approaching.
The Lehigh swimming and diving teams are now four games into their respective seasons with Lafayette on deck. The Mountain Hawks have a history of winning against the Leopards and want to keep that moving forward in the right direction.
Going into Lehigh-Lafayette week, the teams have not been intensely training. In fact, the team makes a point not to.
“Practice is actually the opposite of amplified before Laf,” senior Kaitlyn Ruffing said. “We rest for a few days before the meet which involves practices with less yardage at a lower intensity.”
Ruffing, who participates in 50-meter freestyle and 100-freestyle, is looking to lead the team to victory. With extra rest, she said she believes the team will hit faster times than they have been able to thus far in the season.
Lafayette games always mean a great deal to the student athletes at Lehigh. Many alumni make it a priority to come back for this rivalry.
“It definitely means more to the team than a normal meet,” Ruffing said.
Even though Lafayette is toward the beginning of its season, it’s one of the team’s biggest meets.
The alumni send the team emails all week to keep its spirit and excitement high. This is needed for the meet with Lafayette coming off of a win, for both the men and women, at Loyola. This rivalry week is one of the teams’ favorite weeks of the season.
“The school spirit is at one of the biggest highs, and to see a school with that much pride makes me proud to represent Lehigh,” sophomore diver Croldy Veliz said.
Besides the hype around campus, the team plans out special events. The women do a secret psycher, where they buy each other gifts and leave motivational messages in each other’s lockers. And the last big ritual before the team heads out to the meet is when the entire team meets in the Hall of Fame located in Taylor Gym.
In this tradition, seniors share their experiences in the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry and what it means to them. Ruffing said it’s a special moment and that she takes pride in keeping everyone focused and on track with their jobs.
“It’s really about coming together as a team to beat our rival,” she said, “and enjoying every moment of this special weekend.”