Junior Tim Norris looks out across Jacobs Pool after completing a race. Norris had four first place finishes against Lafayette in freestyle sprints and medleys. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Men’s junior swimmer finds ‘little wins’ in midst of a slow start


The Lehigh men’s swimming and diving team currently sits at a 1-7 record with the Patriot League championships on the horizon. To junior Tim Norris, it’s time for everyone to shift focus onto the little wins.

“Anytime a teammate can find success is good,” Norris said. “Going into a meet with the mindset that we may not get the team result we are looking for, but you can come away with something that you were trying to get better at… that’s the best way.”

Despite the team’s slow start, Norris and his teammates have excelled with first-place finishes in the 400-yard freestyle relay against Rider and the 200-yard medley relay against Seton Hall, Bucknell and the team’s sole win against Lafayette.

“I like each event for its own reasons, but no question, I prefer relays,” Norris said. “I swim faster in them, I think they’re more fun and I think I swim fast in them because they’re more fun.”

Other than relays, Norris said the 50-yard freestyle is arguably the most exciting event, but it can be difficult given its limited room for errors. The 100-yard freestyle is his favorite because it relies on a mix of speed and skill but slightly less on perfection.

Norris said he’s swam almost all the same events since he started at the age of 6. His early swimming motivation came from his mom, who swam for Fairfield University.

“I was afraid of the water, and my mom was like, ‘I won’t have that,’” Norris said. “I’ve been swimming ever since.”

When applying to college, Norris said nothing compared to Lehigh. Along with his appreciation for the balance between academics, athletics and social life, the Le-Laf rivalry also enticed him.

“No one else has that. I can’t even compare it to other school rivalries,” Norris said. “Most of them tend to be football, but it is carried out through all sports here and is equally important to everyone.”

Norris saw his strongest performance this season against Lafayette, with four first-place finishes in the 200-yard medley, the 400-yard medley, 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle.

“If he swims fast, he makes the whole team want to swim fast and work harder just like he did at Lafayette,” sophomore Aaron Williams said. “He leads by example.”

Williams emphasized determination as one of Norris’ notable traits, which he says rubs off on the members of their relay and the team as a whole.

Junior Elvin Lee said another great quality of Norris is his ability to push his teammates and encourage them to reach their full potential.

“Tim is really committed to winning and the team’s success,” Lee said. “He’s definitely swimming smarter and figuring out what helps him succeed.”

Norris said his success has not come without its fair share of trials, which he noted has manifested itself into pre-race anxiety. 

He views the sport as 50% mental and 50% physical, so he has prioritized training his mind and body equally.

“I’ve been able to find success by sticking to my pre-meet routine,” Norris said. “I eat the same food, listen to the same songs, do the same stretches and remind myself I’ve been here before and can do well.”

Norris said he will continue to look at the record boards for inspiration, saying it serves as a motivator before each team practice.

“He’s performing really well,” Williams said. “It’s exciting to see him keep going and getting faster.”

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