The Lafayette swimming and diving team opened its season on Thursday, April 1 participating in the April Pool’s Day virtual invite. This two-part event continued on Saturday, April 3rd and the Leopards closed out the weekend with a handful of record performances. The team finished with a third-place finish for the men and a fifth-place finish for the women.
“The virtual meet was run how an actual meet would go, just with less people. This made it go faster, and somewhat more high intensity as there was less time between races,” said Freshman William Bollwerk, “On the other hand, not having opponents next to you in the pool made it feel slightly fake.”
First years Maya Byrne, Kaley Snarr, and Martha Seaver had great finishes on the evening in the 500-yard freestyles, and the 50-yard freestyles proved successful for the women’s team as well with the top four: Kristen O’Connor, Margaret Champagne, Emily Wilson, and Danielle Carr leading the way.
The women’s team also excelled in the 200 yard IM, as Tara Leininger broke a pool record previously held by a Loyola student-athlete with a time of 2:09.74. Abigail Mack finished right behind Leininger with a time of 2:10.93.
The men’s side had some feats as well, with James Lapsley’s time of 51.63 in the 100 back just missing the pool record set In 2016 by less than one second. Lapsley’s 400 medley relay team also just missed the record set back in 2015, as they finished in a time of 3:25:92 with Michael Gorgan, Tanner McFarland, and Aaron Tupper.
Justin Lloyd finished first in the 500 yard freestyle (4:41.58) and also lead the way in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 21.17.
To kick off the Saturday morning session, the foursome of Ben Arky, Gorgan, Lloyd, and Tupper competed like champions in the 200-yard freestyle relay boasting a time of 1:24.49, just missing both the pool and school record for the event.
The 100-yard butterfly was another event showcasing the Leopard’s talented athletes. James Lapsley and Jamison Crow led the pack in this event with times of 52.72 and 52.89, respectively.
McFarland, who competed alone in the 400 yard IM event, boasted a time of 4:25.15 and helped add plenty of points to the board for the men to secure their third-place finish.
Lapsley and Tupper came back in full effect to leave the rest of the pool in awe with their performance in the 100-yard backstroke. Tupper finished with an incredible 51.28 while Lapsley closely followed with a time of 51.46. Tupper and Lapsley now have bragging rights to the top 10 all-time best finishes for Lafayette in this particular event. Tupper’s time is now also a pool record.
“I miss the energy of having opponents next to you, as there’s no better motivation than having some well-meaning trash talk and then really racing the guy next to you,” said Bollwerk, “With more teams together, the atmosphere on deck is a whole lot louder since everyone is trying to be louder than the team next to them.”
The women showed a huge improvement from last year’s patriot league meet with the foursome of Mack, Leininger, Wilson, and O’Connor having an incredible showing in the 200-yard freestyle relay in a time of 1:39.44.
Coach Dailey was very pleased with the women’s performance in the 200-yard freestyle as the women finished with four sub-two-minute finishes. Unsurprisingly, Leininger led the women in a time of 1:55.24. Leininger’s performance added another top 10 Lafayette performance on the day.
The men opened up the afternoon session on Saturday with a dominant 200 yard medley relay time. Lapsley, Gorgan, McFarland, and Arky finished in a time of 1:35.07
Lapsley delivered yet again in the 200-yard backstroke and finished in another impressive time of 1:56.80 to help add points for the men. McFarland also came back with a bang in another big finish in the 200-yard butterfly. He finished with a time of 1:56.99.
“The men’s team performed well, with a lot of people right on or at least close to personal best times,” said Bollwerk, “With the extremely shortened training we’ve had, this was a good showing and we still have 3 weeks until our end-of-season meet.”
The women showed us that it was far from over and had a dominant afternoon session. The foursome of Carr, Leininger, Lily Buckley, and Wilson finished with a time of 1:51.10. In the 200 yard relay.
Carr proved to have a spectacular afternoon with another addition to the Lafayette Top 10 all-time list after pulling out a time of 2:09.01 in the 200-yard backstroke.
The 100-yard freestyle proved to be another strength for the women’s team Saturday afternoon, with four swimmers finishing in under a minute. O’Connor led the pool in a time of 54.39, followed by Maya Byrne (54.58), Samantha Talecki (54.88), and Mack (54.92).
Leininger proved to her team and coach that she was not done breaking records when she swam the 200-yard breaststroke. She boasted a time of 2:23.73 and now holds a school record that hadn’t been broken since 2004.
“We hope to get in a good 2 weeks of intense training, and make sure we finish off the season without anyone getting contact traced or testing positive,” commented Bollwerk.
The next showing for Lafayette’s swimming and diving team is the final meet of the season against Lehigh on April 24th and finishing on the 25th.