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Swimming and Diving Welcomes Villanova

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
The Nittany Lions will host their first home dual meet of the season against Villanova on Saturday Nov. 10 starting at 11 a.m. in the McCoy Natatorium.

After a victory on the road against WVU, the men and women's swimming and diving teams have momentum going into the meet. Both teams will look to improve their record and have another victory early in the season.

8288253.jpegHaving more time to prepare for this weekend will benefit the athletes and will set them up well for the racing opportunities that this weekend will present. Junior Shane Austin used the time to his advantage to train more specifically for his events and looks forward to the opportunity to race some of the events he normally does not swim.

"I expect the team to swim better than against WVU since we've had more time to train for our specific events over the past three weeks," Austin said. "I want to improve on my times for the same reason. I am getting a chance to swim events that I don't always get to swim and expect to do well in those."

The Villanova Wildcats defeated LaSalle and James Madison but fell short against West Virginia on the women's side. For the men, Villanova lost to both LaSalle and West Virginia. This will be the third meet for the Wildcats since the scheduled quad meet in New Jersey against Connecticut, Georgetown, and Rutgers was rescheduled due to weather.

Saturday will mark the first home meet for the Nittany Lions and for several of the swimmers it will be one of their last home meets. Senior Jeff Gomez plans to seize one of his last opportunities with the supportive Penn State fans in the stands.

"As a senior, it's weird knowing it's my last year," Gomez said. "I'm going to take advantage of all the home meets we have left. I like home meets better because we have a bigger fan base and we have home folks to cheer you on."

While Gomez is well versed in how the dual meets work, many freshmen are still learning how collegiate competitions work. Leadership from upperclassmen plays a key role in helping the freshmen adjust. As a junior this year, Chelsea Weedman has noticed a difference in her role on the team this year.

"As upperclassmen we know how everything goes and what meets are like," Weedman said. "We know what it's like to step up in dual meets and we have to take on a leadership role and guide the freshman. We take them under our wing as they adjust."

This meet is the first annual "THON" meet that will help raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, which will go towards helping kids fight pediatric cancer. The swimmers will wear caps made especially for the event that says "FTK" on one side and the Four Diamond emblem on the other side.

Several of the swimmers and divers are excited to swim for such a good cause and represent the university in this way. Gomez says that this is one of the reasons he is excited for Saturday.

"I'm excited it's the THON meet because it's a good cause," Gomez said. "It's always good to have something to swim for."

Weedman agrees with Gomez that this meet will be more exciting since it is supporting THON in addition to the opportunity to race in a dual meet atmosphere.

"I'm excited to get up and race," Weedman said. "I'm swimming the 200 free which isn't one of my best events so it will be a chance for us to mix up some of our events. It's also the THON meet so it will be exciting and more meaningful. We are all going wear caps that say 'FTK' on them."

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