Junior swimmer Glenn Lasco has followed a unique journey to Lehigh‘s swimming and diving team.
Lasco began swimming after he nearly drowned while crabbing with his uncle at age eight. After the near-tragedy, his parents decided to sign him up for swim classes.
Both Lasco and his younger brother went on to establish reputations for themselves in their hometown, Linwood, New Jersey, for setting numerous records at the high school level.
Lasco finished fifth in last year’s Patriot League Championship meet and set two school records, swimming the 100 individual medley in 52.53 seconds and 100 backstroke in 49.56 seconds.
Meanwhile, his brother, whom Lasco refers to as his best training partner, swims for UC Berkeley and has risen to one of the fastest in the NCAA.
Lasco’s father has served as a motivator who encourages him to maintain a healthy student-athlete lifestyle. He also considers close family friend and coach, Jim Ellis to be an inspirational figure.
Ellis is known for being the first Black swim coach to bring swimmers of all different ethnic backgrounds to a national level and has been a critical part of Lasco’s swim journey since the start.
“They always tell me that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel,” Lasco said. “These guys give me that motivation to find a goal in what I’m doing.”
Motivation is a critical component in keeping up with the life of a student-athlete. While in-season, Lasco swims a total of 20 hours per week and maintains a rigorous lifting schedule.
This season, Lasco has stepped away from racing the 200 freestyle and says he is primarily focusing on the 1500s and looks forward to being back in the competitive scene.
“I know that our team has always brought so much energy to Taylor (Gym),” Lasco said. “That’s going to be something that I think will make up for the lack of being together and training.”
Head coach Robert Herb, who has been with the Lehigh team for 17 seasons, is optimistic about Lasco’s return to the water.
“He’s someone that I think will be very successful once he gets back in the pool again, regardless of the pause,” Herb said. “He is just so talented.”
Herb, along with other teammates, describes Lasco as a supportive, fun-loving, thoughtful and caring person. Herb recalled one training trip in Florida during Lasco’s freshman year when Lasco sat down and began playing the grand piano in the hotel lobby.
“He’s always full of little surprises, and those surprises are usually of a very high quality,” Herb said.
Herb also described Lasco as an easily coachable athlete.
Teammate Ann Foley said Lasco is always looking to improve. Foley swims similar events to Lasco, so they are often behind the blocks together and converse before and after each race.
She recalls one of Lasco’s most notable successes was finishing fifth in the Patriot League Championship last year.
“Being able to practice with him and watching him grow throughout his freshman year was just like really, really cool seeing that culminate into a fifth-place finish,” Foley said.
However, Lasco’s constant drive to improve left him slightly unsatisfied with this achievement.
“I was going in second into finals and when I saw the board and I saw fifth, I was actually kind of bummed out,” Lasco said. “I felt that I had so much more in me.”
He self-described as the kind of athlete who knows what he is capable of and always wants to reach a greater potential.
“[Swimming] gave me the characteristics of that fighter mentality, not giving up, which has gotten me through a lot of stuff in my time at Lehigh,” Lasco said.
According to Herb, this mindset has trickled down and resonated with the rest of the team.
“Whenever we get someone who is high caliber and they continue to be successful in our program, others realize that you know, that is possible for them too,” Herb said. “It elevates the whole group.”
Lasco’s success has worked to benefit Lehigh swimming as a whole.
“Redirecting him to Lehigh was a great opportunity for us, but I really think it’s been a great opportunity for him as well,” Herb said.