Freshman freestyle swimmer Ann Foley swims backstroke practice reps on Monday, Oct. 4, 2017, at Jacobs Pool. Two members of the women's swim team will be competing in the Winter National Championships. (Alexis King/B&W Staff)

Lehigh swimming and diving teams eye championship

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Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams head into the second half of their seasons backed by winning records.

The women’s team is off to a 5-1 start with four consecutive wins. The men’s team has a 4-3 record so far and is on a three-meet winning streak.

Junior Courtney Ferreira said she’s excited for the second half of the season, especially after the team’s blowout meet again Lafayette on Nov. 17 at home, 244-50. The Mountain Hawks are 3-0 in Patriot League play, which will help them down the road when it comes time for seeding within the Patriot League.

“We have had a really strong season so far,” Ferreira said. “We brought in a group of strong first-years. They have definitely helped fill in holes that were left by our graduating class.”

Coach Rob Herb said he’s happy with the team’s progress so far this season. He said the team handled the addition of the new assistant coach, strength training program and schedule like professionals.

Both teams head into the Winter National Championships before the conclusion of the semester and will compete in the Patriot League Championships in February.

“The team is feeling focused on racing,” Herb said. “Our team loves to race, so as we get to Nationals, our girls will be ready.”

Herb said the team continues to focus on Nationals with a concentration on executing quick underwater kicking.

Senior Dean Shafritz said the men’s team looks to keep working hard to maintain a strong level of intensity during practices for the remainder of the second half of their season.

“We anticipate there will be a lot of fast swimming and great diving in our next few meets and at our championships in February,” Shafritz said. “We’re looking to increase our Patriot League rankings on the men’s and the women’s side. We want to finish this season off with a handful of new Patriot League champions.”

Ferreira said sophomore Payton Miles and senior Meghan Thompson will both be swimming at Winter Nationals. The meet will give the two women the opportunity to race against some of the fastest swimmers in the country.

Herb said he’d love to see both Miles and Thompson advance to finals and score points at Nationals.

As for the rest of the team, the women’s next meet is Jan. 9 against Army.

“Right now it’s really important for the team to stay focused on the end goal,” Ferreira said. “Keeping up this competitive spirit will be crucial and will help us stay focused on our goal of moving up in the Patriot League this year.”

Ferreira said the end of the season is packed with meets against some of the fastest, most competitive teams in the league.

The women’s team was able to beat Bucknell in both the dual meet and the Patriot League Championships last season and came close to beating Army in the championship. Looking forward, the team hopes to take home notable wins against both Bucknell and Army.

“On the men’s side, we hope to move up this year to fourth and see the women move up to second,” Herb said. “More than anything, our team’s hard work and confidence will be the ultimate reward.”

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