Posted: October 25, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Swimming in its home pool for the first time this season, Lehigh hung tough with Division II power West Chester before falling to the Golden Rams in a pair of tightly contested meets. The Mountain Hawks made a statement with strong performances in the opening medley relays but in the end it was West Chester prevailing 149-145 on the men’s side and 161-124 Saturday afternoon at Jacobs Pool. Both Lehigh squads fall to 2-1 on the dual season, while West Chester’s teams are both off to 3-0 starts on the young season.
“Our teams have been working extremely hard and it seems to be paying off,” said Lehigh head coach Rob Herb. “Many of our swimmers were recording personal bests in the first meet of the season, it was incredible. I could not be prouder of a group of athletes that come to compete. The confidence and commitment to their racing was great.”
On the men’s side the Mountain Hawks captured seven of the 16 events. Lehigh set a positive tone for the meet, with a win in the 200 medley relay as sophomore Andrew DiPietro and juniors Kevin McGrath, Ben Dearden and Ryan Guttormsen posted a time of 1:38.44. McGrath captured three individual events, winning the 100 breast in 59.41, the 200 breast in 2:09.91 and the 200 IM in 1:58.78. Dearden also picked up a big race win with a victory in the 100 fly with a time of 52.89.
Lehigh also enjoyed success in the backstroke events, as sophomore Billy Dunne, DiPietro and freshman Angelo DiGiacinto swept the top three spots in the 200 back, with Dunne posting a winning time of 1:59.85. DiGiacinto won the 100 back in 54.36, with Dunne finishing second.
“To finish within four points of West Chester is a great effort by our guys,” explained Herb. “We got strong performances from our top guys, but our younger swimmers stepped up especially in the backstroke events.”
The Lehigh women also set the tone early with a win in the 200 medley relay, with junior Laura Eull, senior Melanie Rolish and freshmen Alena Pollitt and Paola Simon putting together a time of 1:51.16.
Rolish also won a pair of individual events, capturing the 100 breast in a time of 1:08.73 and the 200 breast in 2:28.49. In the 200 freestyle, Lehigh picked up seven points on second-third-fourth place finishes by sophomore Lauren Kindrick, freshman Priscilla Barletta and junior Allison Rolish. Simon and Barletta also added a second and third place finish respectively in the 100 free.
“Today’s effort by the women proved that we can compete with anyone,” said Herb. “Our veterans and freshman combined to make a meet in which West Chester could not take us for granted. You have to love it when everyone comes to race.”
The Mountain Hawks will be back in the pool on Saturday when they travel to Colgate. Action gets underway at 1 p.m. from Hamilton, N.Y.