Lehigh Swimming and Diving Team Faces Tough Test; Nearly Third of Team Involved in Drinking Offenses

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania, September 14. ACCORDING to a report in The Morning Call, 19 members of the Lehigh Swimming and Diving Team were charged with alcohol-related offenses Wednesday night. With a currently-listed roster of 43, the originally reported number of 19 is more than 40 percent of the entire team.

Reader responses to this article, however, report the number of swimmers and divers on the team involved in the incident at 14, which is still nearly a third of the entire squad. Reader responses also state only two members of the team were arrested, while the rest were only cited for underage drinking.

Members of the city police department arrested junior diver Mac Tichner, who finished in the top 15 in both the one-meter and three-meter at last year's Patriot League Championships, and Darren Podolak, who placed in the top 15 in backstroke and IM events at the Patriot League meet last year. According to the article written by Pamela Lehman, both student-athletes were charged with "furnishing alcohol to minors" and have been "suspended indefinitely" from the team. Additionally, 17 (or 12, depending on the source) other members of the swimming and diving team were cited for alcohol-related offenses.

According to a statement released by the university, Lehigh will continue to investigate the situation to see if any more code of conduct punishments ranging from a warning to expulsion will take place. Also, according to the article, head coach Rob Herb, Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett and the athletics department referred all queries for comment to the office for university relations.

One of the most stunning revelations in the article is that junior swimmer Nicole Lorigan, who did not compete last year, "was taken to St. Luke's Hospital-Fountain Hill after a breath test showed she had a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.31 percent. Hospital officials said Lorigan was treated and released." That is almost four times the legal threshold of .08 percent in the state of Pennsylvania at which point someone can be charged for Driving Under the Influence.

For further coverage on the arrests, please click here for the entire report by The Morning Call.