Swimming and diving hands out awards at year-end banquet
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh’s swimming and diving program hosted its annual year-end banquet Sunday, March 27 in the Wood Dining Room at Iacocca Hall on Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus. The afternoon was highlighted by speeches from select student-athletes and head coach Rob Herb plus the presentation of departmental and team awards and a special recognition of former head coach Bruce Gardiner.
The Mountain Hawks also reflected upon a season that saw the men’s team take fourth place at the Patriot League Championships while the women finished in sixth. Both Lehigh squads also enjoyed successful dual meet seasons, with the men going 8-2 and the women finishing at 4-4.
Seniors Andy DiPietro and Kristen Keenan came away with the program’s highest honors by being recipients of the Scholar-Athlete Award which is given to a male and female athlete that best exemplifies the ideal of the scholar-athlete. DiPietro also was named to the All-Patriot League second team for the first time in his career by notching a first place finish in the B final of the 100 yard backstroke at the Patriot League Championships with a time of 51.53. He also finished fifth overall in the 200 yard backstroke with a time of 1:51.27. DiPietro also was named to the Academic All-Patriot League team and boasts a 3.49 grade point average in finance as he received the award for the second straight year.
Keenan was a point-scorer and a veteran leader for the women’s team, competing in the sprint and middle distance freestyle events. Keenan owns a 3.46 grade point average as an accounting major.
Sophomores Tyler Lareau and Brooke Smalley came away with Athlete of the Year honors. The award is presented to the person who had the greatest athletic contribution to the team. Lareau posted one of the team’s top finishes in the Patritot League Championship by finishing third in the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 50.62, while Smalley broke Jamie Grivalsky’s 11-year old school record in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 56.85 in a preliminary heat at the Patriot League Championships.
Juniors Kevin Shoemaker and Alyssa Siano received the coaches’ award, which is given to swimmers who made contributions to the team in terms of attitude and improvement in and out of the pool, both are first time winners of the award. Shoemaker set a school record for Lehigh in the 200 yard butterfly while Siano scored at the Patriot League championships with an 11th place finish in the women’s 200 fly.
Junior Connor Styles earned his second straight Diver of the Year award. Styles scored 21 points for Lehigh at the league championships, finishing seventh in the three-meter and ninth in the one-meter.
Sophomore Dave Pennenga and senior Taylor Foxworth were recognized as the programs most improved swimmers, while freshmen Meredith Bayer and Chris Hoke were named Freshmen of the Year. Bayer placed ninth in the 200 fly to boast the highest finish for the women’s team of the Patriot League Championships, while Hoke established himself as one of the Mountain Hawks’ top sprinters.
Former coach Bruce Gardiner was honored as he will be retiring from Lehigh after 40 years of service to the university. Gardiner spent 17 years as head coach at Lehigh and is currently the university’s Director of Admissions. Herb showed his gratitude, thanking Gardiner for his years of support and friendship, both for his work as a swim coach and his tenure in the admissions office.