Lehigh mountain Hawks junior Julianne Koch swims laps during practice on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Taylor Gym. The swim team starts the Patriot League Tournament on Feb. 15, 2017. (Gracie Chavers/B&W Staff)

Winter training trip provides boost for Lehigh swimming before Patriot League Championships


The Lehigh men’s and women’s swim teams have completed their regular season and are now set to head into Patriot League Championships after their final meet against Drexel University on Jan. 28. The women came out victorious while the men fell to Drexel.  

Both the women’s (6-2, 3-2 Patriot) and men’s (4-5, 2-3 Patriot) teams have an opportunity to reflect on the season and everything that has contributed to their successes or shortcomings.

“We have a lot more depth than the years past,” senior Kelly Carroll said. “This enables us to compete very well because the top 16 swimmers each get points for their school and the more swimmers we have in the top 16, the better our chances are of winning as an overall team.”

Both teams took their annual training trip down to Naples, Florida, this year. The eight day trip consisted of single practices on the first and last days and two practices per day for the six in between.

“The training trip to Naples, Florida, was incredible,” senior Justin White said. “By far the best trip I have ever been on with the team. The coaches and Lehigh really took good care of us while we were training down there.”

In addition to giving the team a chance to get away from the cold and train in the warm Florida weather, the trip also served as a team bonding opportunity.

“It was nice to get out of Bethlehem and our regular daily preseason routine and into a new environment where we could concentrate solely on growing both in and out of the pool as a team,” Carroll said. “Even though the training was sometimes even harder than the training we do at school, the change of scenery brought a new exciting opportunity to bond and build up our team in all aspects.”

The morning sessions consisted of pool workouts and competitions, while the second session, held in the late afternoon, consisted of more pool training, weightlifting or conditioning.

Now, both teams have chosen their 17 top swimmers and three top divers to compete in the Patriot League Championship, which will take place over three days from Feb. 15 to 18. As the swimmers prepare for the  meet, they have more time to train, relax and make any adjustments in order to put them in the best opportunity to succeed.

“Because of the break before the championship meet, I think they will be primed and ready to produce their best times yet,” junior Julia Perry said.

Perry and other swimmers competed over the weekend in a final meet for swimmers not selected for the championships.

The senior swimmers who will be competing in the meet have used the time to push themselves to make the most out of their last championship meet and to soak in the fact the upcoming meet could be their last time in the pool representing Lehigh.

“I feel great going into championship season,” White said. “Coach Erin (Matyus) prepared me well, and I think I am at a very good mental place. It is bittersweet though knowing that this is my last opportunity to race with the team. However, I wouldn’t want to go out with anyone else.”

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