The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Swim and dive competes in Bucknell Winter Invite

Lafayette, after completing its last regular season meet, has turned its attention to the Patriot League Championship. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The swimming and diving team traveled to Lewisburg, Pa. last weekend to compete against a handful of Patriot League schools in its last regular season meet. The women impressed with a second place finish, while the men finished third out of five teams.  

Each swim race is scored in a point system. First place in each heat earns the most points. Diving is judged on an individual scale, 0-10 points per dive. During Saturday’s swim and dive events, the women earned 596 points and the men earned 362 points. 

Seniors Annika Murray and Nick Sabella led the freestyle events for the Leopards. Murray clenched third place in the 100-yard freestyle (53.90) and Sabella’s 17:14.31 finish was good enough for second place in the 1,650-yard freestyle event. Murray also broke two minutes in the 200 free (1:59.87).

“I put a lot of work in this season and in my final race, I finally went under two minutes,” Murray said. “That was my last swim ever, to be able to do that in front of my whole team, and my parents were there, it was surreal.” 

Sophomore Shaylee Daniels found success on the board with a second-place finish, scoring 216.85 points as well as breaking the one-meter diving school record with a score of 243.95. 

In the pool, classmates Peter Kawash and John Janeski were victorious in the 100-yard butterfly (50.63) and 200-yard freestyle (1:42.93), respectively.

First year freestylers Julia Balulis and Sean McManus managed noteworthy times, too. Balulis finished with a time of 25.27 in the 50-yard race and 55.35 in the 100-yard race. McManus completed the 1,650-yard freestyle seconds behind Sabella (17:27.60).   

“I think that the freshmen on the team have shown a lot of promise … As they get more mature and confident in themselves, they’re going to improve a lot,” Murray said.

Now that the preparation phase of the season has ended, all attention turns toward the Patriot League championship.

Head Coach Jim Dailey is nearing the end of his 29th season as Lafayette head coach. He narrowed down last weekend’s squad to just 17 swimmers and three divers each for the men’s and women’s categories, respectively, to compete in championships, which will be at Bucknell from Feb. 15 to Feb. 18. 

As a result, swimmers like Murray will not suit up again. As the competitive swim chapter closes for the senior Leopard, Murray plans to work in the mental health field and earn a master’s degree in counseling psychology.  

“Pushing yourself to do something difficult every single day translates to other aspects of your life,” Murray said in relation to applying swim lessons to a career in mental health.

Lafayette swimmers average four and half miles in the pool a day, six days a week all in preparation for this meet. Dailey acknowledged the high amount of pressure swimmers are under to turn thousands of training hours since August into success at this one meet.

Last year, Lafayette broke 10 school records at NCAA B Cut and raced 65 swims in the all-time top 10. Dailey expects just as many accomplishments at this season’s peak.  

Regardless of championship results, however, Dailey is pleased with the character and attitude of this year’s squad. 

“I am really proud of them,” Dailey said. “I wouldn’t change any of them, I wouldn’t swap anyone out, they’re good kids and I wish them all the best.”

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Colleen McNamara
Colleen McNamara, Staff Sports Writer/Copy Editor

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