Capping off a great career: Grewal ’16 wins PL Student-Athlete of the Year for men’s swimming

Capping off a great career: Grewal 16 wins PL Student-Athlete of the Year for mens swimming

For Greg Grewal, collegiate swimming was never a guarantee. Not swimming full time until his senior year in high school left the current Lafayette senior slower than what some college programs wanted. Patriot League teams told him on more than one occasion that he just wasn’t fast enough.

But it seems that Grewal has proven those coaches wrong—the Patriot League just named Grewal their Student-Athlete of the Year for men’s swimming.

The award is given to a junior or senior who has made significant contribution to his or her team in the pool while also setting the pace in the classroom as well. Grewal, with his four individual school records and 3.59 GPA as a chemical engineer exemplifies just that.

But his success at Lafayette wouldn’t have been possible without that one coach who told him yes, you will be fast enough…fast enough to break records.

Lafayette head coach Jim Dailey believed in Grewal when others didn’t, and his emphasis on not sacrificing school for swimming played huge role in setting Grewal up for success, along with this award.

“The best thing about Lafayette is that there really is a good balance between being a D1 athlete and being a student,” Grewal said. “That’s what attracted me to the school. I could still be D1 without having to be sold to the program.”

Grewal ended his Patriot League career with two third-place finishes at the conference championship, ahead of swimmers from the two teams who turned him down as a high schooler.

“At the time, I understood that I wasn’t what they wanted,” Grewal said. “Now it’s nice, I have a little bit of a vendetta when I race them but it’s not about being angry with them for not taking me. I’m happy that it all worked out, that this is where I belong—at Lafayette… It worked out.

Grewal will have one more chance, however, to take home some Patriot League hardware. Every student-athlete of the year in each sport is currently in the running for the overall award of Patriot League Student-Athlete of the Year.

In addition to his diploma, Grewal will take multiple school records, ones previously held by a former Olympian, Kevin Rutherford ’94, who swam for team Hong Kong, with him when he graduates. A potential invite to the NCAA meet also looms on the horizon.

The swimmer currently has a NCAA “B Cut” time in the 100 and 200 breaststroke which places him on the list of eligible athletes. Once the A cuts are finalized this weekend, the NCAA will start inviting B cut swimmers to compete in the meet.

Although Grewal admits he is “less likely than most” to get that final invitation to the NCAA meet, he does have one last meet that is a guarantee: the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Grewal will be competing in the 100 breaststroke, his best event, against the some of the fastest swimmers in the nation. The odds aren’t really in his favor, but he is looking forward to the high- profile meet nonetheless.

“It’s a nice way to cap off my career,” he said. “It’s something every swimmer dreams about, swimming at Olympic Trials. There’s going to be a lot of big names there… It’s a great way to hang up the goggles and cap and say ‘I’m done, I did this.’”

When Grewal replaces his swim cap with a graduation cap he will put his chemical engineering degree to good use having already accepted a job working for Thorogood Associates in consulting.

Looking back, Grewal is glad that he wasn’t fast enough for those teams. Being a little bit too slow allowed him to find his place at Lafayette, a decision he doesn’t regret.

“It was definitely somewhere that I could say I fit in for my four years here,” he said. “Somewhere that I really enjoyed being while taking those difficult classes and getting through those grueling hours in the pool. The takeaway from it is I probably had the best four years I could have had.”