It was Lewis’ performance that catapulted his team to a victory at Koury Natatorium and handed the Midshipmen their first loss of the season.
Navy won four of the first six events and led the Tar Heels 48-45 before Lewis’ first-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle shifted the momentum.
The Tar Heel men (5-2) then claimed 13 of the 16 points available before the mid-meet break and regained the lead from Navy, eventually securing a win. The UNC women also earned a 175-117 victory.
“He came through for us,” Coach Rich DeSelm said about Lewis. “I felt confident that we would work our way back to the lead, and I’m glad that we did.”
The 50-yard freestyle was not even Lewis’ primary event. The senior earned qualifying times for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter butterfly earlier this season.
He finished the meet with two more wins under his belt — in his signature event, the 100-meter butterfly, and as a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay team.
Still, the senior wants more.
“I had a few goals coming into it that I didn’t quite reach,” he said. “We have a few more meets coming up. I’ll be looking to go faster there.”
While Lewis believes the training trip likely inhibited his ability to post season-best times, the senior from Alpharetta, Ga., understands the importance in the long run.
“It was a lot about grit, just showing passion for what we’re doing,” he said, “coming in every day with a smile on your face and being excited about going to practice and going to work hard.”
With upcoming meets against multiple ACC rivals, the Tar Heels will rely on Lewis to continue his dominant senior season performance.