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Women's Swimming & Diving Defeat Villanova

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In the first home meet, the Nittany Lions knocked off the Villanova Wildcats at McCoy Natatorium on Saturday morning by a score of 177-166.  This victory marks the 19th win for the Nittany Lions against Villanova in their last 20 dual meets.

women 1.jpgThe dual meet followed a 16-event format featuring the 200 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay, 500 and 1,000 Freestyle, 200 Individual Medley, and 100 and 200 of each stroke for the swimming side. Diving included the 1-meter and 3-meter boards.  Of the 16 events, the Nittany Lions placed first in 13 of them.

Head coach John Hargis was pleased with how the swimmers raced and looks forward to racing faster next week against IU and UVA.

"As a whole, I thought we raced well today," Hargis said. "I thought we were looking forward a little bit too much and didn't fully embrace the opportunities. We swam through it too much. For next weekend, we have to find a way to get a lot faster."

Hargis thought Megan Siverling's 1,000 Freestyle was a standout swim for the women's side and said that Gabi Shishkoff's, Alyson Ackman's and Jones' performances today could be added to that list.

"Siverling had a great thousand," Hargis said. "Shishkoff continues to swim well and had a great 500. She's been battling injuries so we've been managing that. Alyson Ackman and Kaitlin Jones are doing well for the freshman. We're starting to see kids develop and that's what's fun about this part of the year."

Shishkoff has continued to step up with a win in the 500 Freestyle and 200 Individual Medley as well as finishing third in the 200 Free with a new best time. Winning the 1,000 Freestyle with a time of 10:06.24 and finishing second in the 500 Freestyle, Siverling helped to contribute to Penn State's second win of the year.

"I was nervous because I knew Villanova had a couple of girls who are fast distance swimmers but I was also excited because I saw it as a challenge," Siverling said. "I felt like it was an even paced race and I was happy to see that I improved a little from West Virginia."

Adjusting to college training and meets is not an easy task for any freshman, but for Ackman it has been even tougher since she is from Canada and has never swum yards before.

"I've never raced yards and I've been told that the comparison times from short course meters to yards isn't very accurate so I'm starting to see where I am compared to everyone else and starting to understand what the times mean," Ackman said. "I thought I did pretty good in the 200 back and it was nice to get good jobs from everyone to reassure that I was doing well. The 500 is tricky because it's a completely new race for me. I'm getting better I just need more experience."

The divers also made significant contributions with junior Megan Springsteen leading the way and winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter events.

"My dives were the best out of the season or in my whole career today," Springsteen said. "I was really consistent and didn't have any missed dives. I concentrated on things that I needed to do for my dives and stayed focused with a good attitude."

The Nittany Lions will have a few days to get back into training before they have the chance to race against Big Ten competition and one of the leaders of the ACC. They will take on IU and UVA in Bloomington, Ind. Action starts at 5 p.m. on Friday Nov 16.

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