The Lehigh men’s and women’s swim and dive teams extended their winning streaks against Lafayette at The Rivalry meet on Nov. 18.
On the men’s side, Lehigh secured its 31st consecutive Rivalry victory with a score of 152-136. The women’s team continued to dominate, scoring 219 points to Lafayette’s 80 for a decisive 15th straight win.
“A rivalry like Lehigh-Lafayette is something only a few swim and dive programs have,” coach Rob Herb said.
In his 19th season as head coach, Herb said The Rivalry means a lot and has been a special part of what it means to compete for the Lehigh program.
As part of The Rivalry tradition, junior swimmer Maddie Dorish said the team held its annual Alumni Pep Rally over Zoom the night before the meet.
“(The alumni) talk to us about their memories of Le-Laf and make it really exciting for us to represent those that came before us,” Dorish said.
Many of these alumni attended the meet held in Lafayette’s Weinstein Natatorium. The stands filled so quickly that any late arrivals had to stand in the back.
“The energy was unmatched,” freshman Aaron Williams said. “So many alumni, parents and Lehigh fans were there.”
Several fans had signs, and some alumni even brought brooms which they raised high when Lehigh swimmers swept their events. This included the men’s 200-yard freestyle, in which sophomore Tim Norris placed first, junior Alex Patti came in second and freshman Nathan Schlicht secured third.
Going into the meet, Herb emphasized the improvement of both programs and the intense pre-season preparation. He said The Rivalry meet is an opportunity for both teams to show they can perform at the highest level and that they have a place in this league.
Herb said Lehigh’s team leaders have helped define what the season has looked like.
Dorish said this started with the summer training in preparing for the season. Knowing this year’s competition would be more challenging, she said the team agreed to train hard and stay focused during the off-season.
“Everyone has been good about encouraging each other and keeping our eyes on the prize,” Dorish said.
Specifically for Le-Laf, Williams said the team focused on the small things and that the big things would fall into place.
For the women’s team, this resulted in 14 first-place finishes and several pool records.
Senior Sarah Hardy won the 200-yard and 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard IM, setting a team record and two Lafayette pool records.
Freshman Mairin Ludwig and sophomore Willa Werwaiss also set pool records.
On the men’s side, Herb said the competitive nature of Lafayette’s team meant that every race could go either way. He emphasized that while the team forfeited points for not having a diver as they did not recruit one this season, the swimmers were prepared to compete at a high level.
This proved to be true, as the meet ultimately came down to winning the 400-yard medley relay. With the Mountain Hawks victory in the last event and six other first-place finishes, Lehigh was able to continue their winning streak.
Williams placed first in the 100-yard butterfly, and he was on the winning 200-yard and 400-yard medley relay teams.
“It was really cool to see the camaraderie and for it to come down to basically the final relay,” Williams said.
Dorish, who won the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard medley relay, said it was amazing to see everyone’s hard work pay off.
Williams said while there is always more to improve on, the team is proud of their efforts.
“We’re going to just bask in the win for now and get back to work on Monday,” Williams said.