Posted: January 18, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s swimming and diving team clinched its first winning dual season in six years with a 181-117 victory Sunday afternoon at Jacobs Pool. Senior Melanie Rolish and sophomore Lauren Kindrick each won two events to lead the Mountain Hawks on the women’s side. Despite three event wins from senior Dan Johnson the Lehigh men fell to the visiting Black Knights 175.5-124.5.
“Today was a fantastic day for our women who secured a winning season,” said Lehigh head coach Rob Herb. “I could not be more proud of their effort and energy. The men fought a valiant fight. A lot of races were close and we had some fantastic wins, but a team victory just wasn’t in the cards for them.”
The Mountain Hawks won just eight of the 16 events on the women’s side, but consistently picked up critical team points with second, third and fourth place finishes in events that Lehigh failed to win. Kindrick led a top-three Lehigh finish in the 1000 yard freestyle with a time of 10:41.11. Junior Allison Rolish and freshman Jill Rann finished second and third respectively. Later in the meet, Kindrick added the 500 free in 5:16.43, with Rolish again placing second.
Melanie Rolish swept both breaststroke events in her final home meet at Jacobs Pool, winning the 100 in 1:08.01 and the 200 in 2:28.39. Both backstroke events featured Lehigh sweeping the top three spots. Junior Stephanie Naylor took second in both events, while junior Liz Murray took third in the 100 and sophomore Allison Montanye placed second in the 200.
Lehigh also experienced success in the sprints and the relays. Freshman Alena Pollitt won the 50 free in 25.39 and classmate Paola Simon captured the 100 in 54.56. Pollitt, Simon, Melanie Rolish and junior Julie Sicherman teamed to win the 200 yard medley relay, while Simon, Montanye, freshman Priscilla Barletta and sophomore Kristen Keenan won the 400 free relay in 3:39.98.
“Our women really took it to Army race after race,” said Herb. “When Army would win, Lehigh was there to take 2-3-4. We didn’t give them any room to pick up additional points and we were able to prevail.
The win ups Lehigh’s dual mark to 6-4 on the season, already a six win improvement on last year’s dual campaign.
Johnson paced the Lehigh men in a losing effort with wins in the 50, 100 and 200 yard freestyle events. He opened the day by winning the 200 with a time of 1:41.81 and then added titles in the 50 (21.78) and 100 (48.27). Junior Ben Dearden produced the other two individual event wins for the Mountain Hawks, who took six of 16 events on the men’s side. Dearden won the 200 butterfly in 1:56.20 and later added the 100 fly with a time of 52.31. Johnson and Dearden teamed with junior Ryan Guttormsen and sophomore Andrew DiPietro to win the 400 free relay with a time of 3:11.93.
“The men were simply going against one of the top teams in the Patriot League and did not back down,” explained Herb. “It was refreshing to see everyone out there just racing hard, win-or-lose.”
Lehigh’s men have already clinched a winning dual season and enter the final weekend of the regular season at 6-4 overall.
The Mountain Hawks will wrap up the regular season on Saturday when they travel to Bucknell. The meet gets underway at 1 p.m. from Kinney Natatorium, which will also be the venue for next month’s Patriot League Championships.