BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh will send four swimmers to compete in the USA Swimming AT&T Winter National Championships hosted by the University of Texas. The event, which will be held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, is set to begin Thursday morning and will conclude on Saturday.
Senior Frank Cuzzola and juniors Chris Hoke and Demetri Karedis will represent the Lehigh men at the championships, while sophomore Alissa Leung will represent the women. The four Mountain Hawks will represent Lehigh when competing against some of the top swimmers in the world, including Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin. Many of the top high school and club swimmers in the United States will also compete.
Hoke and Karedis are both set to take part in the 50 yard freestyle. The pair claimed a 1-2 finish during the same event against Lafayette a week ago as Karedis won with a time of 20.94 and Hoke finished just behind him at 21.11. Their efforts in the meet helped Lehigh defeat Lafayette for the 22nd straight season. Hoke finished second in the 50 free at last season’s Patriot League championships with a time of 20.47 seconds. Karedis holds the school record in the 50 free (20.33) which he set at the 2011 Big Al Open in Princeton, N.J. He defended his title at the Big Al Open earlier this month.
Cuzzola, two-time second team All-Patriot League selection, will compete in the 100 yard freestyle after picking up a win during the Lehigh-Lafayette meet. He finished first in the 100 freestyle in 47.62 and teamed up with Hoke, Karedis and junior Matthew Chrzanowski to win the 400 freestyle relay in 3:11.30. Cuzzola also took second in the 200 freestyle in 1:45.27. Cuzzola’s personal best time in the 100 free is 44.89 seconds.
Sophomore Alissa Leung will compete in the championships on the women’s side. She will swim in the 200 backstroke, an event she won a week ago to help the Mountain Hawks beat Lafayette for the fifth consecutive year. Leung finished in 2:07.24, eight seconds ahead of second place Brooke Smalley. She also led the 400 Medley Relay team to a first place finish of 4:00.97. A first team All-Patriot League selection a season ago, Leung set school records in both the 100 and 200 yard backstroke events at last season’s Patriot League championships. She posted a time of 2:00.05 to finish third overall in the 200 back.
The remainder of the men’s team will travel to Newark, N.J. Saturday to take on NJIT in a meet that will begin at noon. The 2-1 Mountain Hawks are riding a two meet winning streak, having defeated both Colgate and Lafayette after dropping their season opener to West Chester. NJIT holds a 3-2 meet record after beating St. Francis Brooklyn in their last meet on Nov. 18.
This weekend’s competitions will be the final ones of the fall semester for the Mountain Hawks. Both the Lehigh men’s and women’s teams will return to the pool on Friday, January 11 when they host Army for a 5 p.m. meet at Jacobs Pool.
Story by Cam Omsberg ‘13