Ann Foley, a senior on Lehigh’s swimming and diving team, had a superb Patriot League Championship in 2020 finishing second in the 100 freestyle, fourth in the 200 freestyle, fifth in the 50 freestyle, second in the 200 freestyle relays and second in the 800 medley.
However, Foley’s swim career didn’t kick-off seamlessly.
Foley started swimming at age six at her local swim club, only to quit months later.
“I did not like it at all, but I went back next year when I was seven and fell in love,” Foley said.
Foley’s mother helped convince her to give swimming another shot. The sense of community she found through swimming coupled with the support from her family motivated her throughout her career.
Foley got a later introduction into the competitive scene in comparison to many of her teammates and competitors. She started summer swimming at age 7 and went on to start full-time competitive swimming at age 16.
When talking about Foley’s recruiting process, head coach Robert Herb referred to her committing to swim at Lehigh as, “one of the best things we had ever done.”
Herb believes Lehigh’s close-knit team and competitive atmosphere attracted Foley to Bethlehem.
Foley has experienced tremendous success at Lehigh throughout her four years as a student-athlete.
Foley was on the 200 free relay team that won the 2018 Patriot League Championship, and broke the Lehigh record in the process, finishing in 1:31.41.
Foley holds school records for being a part of the 400 medley relay team, 400 free relay team and 800 free relay team.
“Having her break 50 seconds in her 100 free my senior year was a really cool experience to be a part of, since it’s a big feat, for not only our team, but women in general,” said graduate assistant Payton Miles.
Foley attributes her success in college to the team’s intense training routine.
After having a late start to her competitive swimming career, Foley believes her individualized training and lifting in college helped to bring out untapped potential from high school.
In-season, the team typically practices two hours per day in the water, six days a week. On top of this, there are additional swim times on Wednesdays, lifting sessions twice a week and full dynamic workouts on Saturdays.
“Hard work always pays off, and that hard work comes from every single day in practice doing the best you can, always giving 100 percent,” Foley said.
Foley’s work ethic extends beyond the team’s grueling schedule.
Fellow senior swimmer Anna Thomas acknowledged how hard Foley works, commenting that Foley is one of the hardest working members of the team.
“She puts in the work and everyone can see it,” Thomas said.
Miles knows how influential Foley has been on the team, not only for athletic contributions, but also for setting an example with her dedication for the sport for the rest of the team.
“If I want to be a Patriot League champion, this is what I have to do, I have to train like Ann (Foley),” Miles said.
Foley has been accepted into Lehigh’s Masters in Environmental Policy Program, where she will pursue a degree as a Presidential Scholar as long as she maintains the GPA requirements. Foley has yet to decide if she will continue to compete for the Mountain Hawks next year.