BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh swimming and diving teams placed seven student-athletes on the All-Patriot League teams announced Wednesday. Freshman Alissa Leung led the way earning first team honors, while junior Emily DiDonato joined five men: senior Connor Styles, juniors Alex Aboud and Frank Cuzzola, sophomore Chris Hoke and freshman Danny Bennett in receiving second team laurels.
The Mountain Hawk men finished fourth at last week’s league championships at Navy, while the women finished fifth.
The All-Patriot League teams are determined based on individual first and second place finishes at the Patriot League Championships as well as individual point totals from the championships.
Leung set a pair of school records at last week’s league championship meet en route to a pair of top four finishes. Leung’s highest finish was a third-place effort in the 200 yard backstroke, where she set a new school mark clocking in at 2:00.60. She also set a school record in the 100 back, with a time of 56.60. Leung also competed in the 200 yard individual medley, winning the B final in 2:07.95. She tied for 14th among women, scoring 40 points at the championships.
DiDonato matched Leung for the top Lehigh women’s individual finish at the championships, placing third in the 200 yard breaststroke with a time of 2:20.03. She added a fifth place finish in the 100 yard breaststroke, in 1:05.78. DiDonato scored 30 points at the championships to place 33rd among all women.
Leung and DiDonato also teamed to compile half of Lehigh’s entrants in the 200 and 400 yard medley relay events. The duo, along with junior Brooke Smalley and senior Paola Simon, finished fourth in the 400 medley relay with a school-record time of 3:52.46. Leung and DiDonato finished sixth as part of the 200 medley relay team.
Hoke made his first career All-League team by posting Lehigh’s top individual finish at the championships, taking second in the 50 yard freestyle in 20.47 seconds. He and Cuzzola were key contributors as Lehigh’s sprint freestyle unit enjoyed an especially strong performance at the championship meet. Hoke also took fifth in the 100 free on Saturday.
Cuzzola earns second team All-League honors for the second time in his career. Like Hoke, he qualified for the championship finals in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events, placing fifth and eighth respectively. Cuzzola also won the B final in the 200 free to finish ninth overall. Hoke and Cuzzola tied for 25th place among men’s swimmers and divers, scoring 34 points apiece during the championships.
Hoke and Cuzzola also teamed up on two of the Mountain Hawks’ relay teams, both of which set school records in Annapolis. In the 200 yard freestyle relay, Hoke and Cuzzola teamed with sophomore Demetri Karedis and freshman Martin Kendig to place second with a school-record time of 1:21.05. In the final event of the meet, the 400 free relay, the Lehigh duo was joined by Karedis and senior Kevin Shoemaker to take second in a school=record time of 3:00.72. Cuzzola also swam on Lehigh’s 800 free relay team that finished fourth.
Bennett made the All-League second team as a freshman, reaching the finals in a pair of individual events. Bennett’s top performance was a bronze medal effort in the 1650 yard freestyle, where he clocked in at 15:47.89. He also reached the finals in the 400 yard individual medley, finishing eighth and took 13th in the 500 free. Bennett, who ranked 30th among men with 31 points, also participated on Lehigh’s fourth-place 800 free relay team.
Lehigh’s top performer in the individual medley events, Aboud totaled 30 points to finish 33rd among men. He broke his own school record in the preliminaries for the 400 IM before going on to place seventh in the finals. Aboud added an eighth place finish in the 200 yard butterfly and a tenth place showing in the 200 IM. He also swam the butterfly leg of Lehigh’s 400 medley relay team which placed fifth.
Styles rounds out Lehigh’s All-League honorees after placing in the top eight in both diving events. A senior from Chappaqua, N.Y., Styles placed sixth in the one meter competition, before breaking an 18-year old school record with a score of 315.25 en route to a fourth place finish in the three meter event. Styles’ performance qualified him for the NCAA Regional Championships, March 9-11 in Buffalo, N.Y.
A total of 75 men’s and women’s swimmers and divers appeared on the All-League teams. The Patriot League Championship winning Navy men and women led the way with 18 and 14 student-athletes selected respectively.