Ex-Fenwick swimming star makes big splash at Patriot League finals
Former Fenwick High swimmer Justin White delivered an outstanding performance for Lehigh University at the Patriot League Championships last weekend in Annapolis, Maryland.
The junior freestyler finished fourth overall in the 100-yard dash, with a time of 44.66 seconds, fourth in the 50-yard (20.37) and 12th in the 200-yard free (1:38:99). Lehigh finished in sixth place out of 10 teams, with a score of 249 and 703.0 points, as host team Navy won, with a score of 951 and 824.9 points.
But, according to White, there is no reason to be disappointed.
“As a team, we came together really well, and that’s about all you can ask for,” White recently told the West Cook News. “Individually, we had some great performances and a lot of great team camaraderie. Everybody was just buying in and having so much fun at the meet, and really just living in the moment and soaking everything in. You only get a few of these that are really special to you.”
For White, his greatest challenge as a member of the swim team at the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania school is the demanding training regimen.
“I don’t dread the training because you know that whatever you put into swimming, you are going to get out," he said. "It’s the hardest to stay mentally tough throughout such a long season and to fight through some of the fatigue and stay in the right mindset to continue to be a successful student athlete.”
White combats these challenges by treating every day like it were a 9-to-5 job.
“My hours are a little bit longer than that, (but) I’m always trying to be productive, so whether I’m trying to get to a class early or trying to get to the library, I’m being in a productive place," White said.
White is also participating in the Student Athlete Mentor (SAM) program, which is designed to assist incoming student athletes with their adjustment to college life. Mentors are veteran athletes who are selected through an interview process, then trained to act as a first-point-of-contact for freshman athletes. Mentors direct the new students on aspects such as academic scheduling, time allocation, how to communicate with coaches and finding tutors. The program also helps teach concepts of mindfulness, self-awareness and meditation.
“Lehigh helped me so much through this program, and I’m honored to be a part of it now,” White said.
Like many student athletes, White credits his parents as major influences in his development.
“My parents have been the greatest in the sense of being supportive and in the sense of being excited about my accomplishments," White said.
Outside of his family members, White attributes his development to the club coach he had as a kid, Kathy Rigali.
“She’s been like a second mom to me," he said. "She’s been so strong and supportive. She has always led me in the right direction, and she’s always been there for me."
Another big influence in White’s life has been teammate Dan Kelly.
“Seeing his progression, his enthusiasm and his dedication to the sport of swimming really motivated me to look at him as another big brother," White said. "He’s always kept me driven and has held me accountable in every sense of the sport.
People might be surprised to know that aside from being an outstanding student and athlete, White is also an accomplished musician. He has played the classical piano for more than 10 years and has taken extensive voice-training lessons as well. White also plays the guitar, including bass guitar.
White is majoring in accounting and after graduating from Lehigh, he hopes to work in a major financial firm in Chicago.
“Besides that, I want to try and build great relationships and have great friends, a family and kids over the next 20 or 30 years," White said. “I think that living in the moment and enjoying the small things is lost in this day and age, so my goals and aspirations are to be the best person I can be, be the best father I can be, and be the best man I can be."