The Lehigh swimming and diving team listens as Coach Rob Herb speaks to the team about an upcoming meet before practice on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, at Jacob's pool. The team recently concluded its season at the Patriot League Championships. (Annie Henry/B&W Staff)

Lehigh swims to success at Patriot League Championships

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The Lehigh swimming and diving team combined to finish with the best performance in the past decade in the Patriot League Championship this past weekend.

“We had a very special meet,” coach Rob Herb wrote in an email. “The team was so ready, and they performed from the heart. Our seniors led the way and as they have done for four years, cranked out such a great meet. We had a plan and everyone did their part and we met so many of our goals and expectations.”

The championships were a four-day event held in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Throughout the four days, there was a combination of 11 new school records set between individual and relay events. There were also three first-place individual finishes and four swimmers who combined to produce six NCAA B-Cut times.

Sophomore Meghan Thompson won the 1650-meter freestyle and freshman Payton Miles won the 50-meter freestyle. These were the first multiple individual titles for the women’s team since 2001.

“(Miles) is so special,” Herb wrote. “She is just starting to realize her potential and her impact. She is so valuable, and we are so proud that she continues our reign in the sprints. It is so fun to see that surprise and feeling of success on her face at the same time.”

Thompson had a standout weekend by leading the women’s team with 50 individual points and finishing third overall.

“Hard work, hard work and hard work define how (Thompson) moved herself right into the mix of the Patriot League,” Herb wrote. “I am so happy for her. I know that this just the tip of the iceberg for (Thompson) as well.”

The women’s team concluded its season and championship weekend by finishing in third place with 528 points. The swimmers were not the only ones winning awards — Herb was also being awarded Patriot League Women’s Swim Coach of the Year.

The men’s team also had its share of success throughout the four day championship. Senior Justin White was the lone champion of an individual event, while also piling on 50 individual points and finishing tied for fifth overall at the meet.

“I’m still in shock that it happened,” White said. “I’m just so happy that I got to spend my last race with my teammates, family and best friends. I’ll miss it.”

Herb said White has been a big reason for the team’s success this season. He said his leadership in the pool and classroom has molded him into a role model for younger swimmers, and his individual win truly moved those who knew him.

“It brought tears to all of us,” Herb wrote. 

The men’s team finished fifth overall in the championships. The top five finish was the team’s 26th since the first Patriot League Championship meet in 1991, having failed to do so only once.

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