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Nittany Lion Swimming and Diving Welcomes Navy

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion swimming and diving teams are back in action this weekend as they take on Navy and host one of their last dual meets of the season.

8505219.jpegComing off of a travel meet to Fayetteville, Ark. the swimmers and divers took the last two weeks to sharpen their skills and put in more hard work while keeping in mind their goals for the end of the season. Navy last competed against the University of North Carolina on Jan. 12 and looks to rebound after tough loses to the No. 16-ranked team.

Welcoming Navy to McCoy Natatorium, the swimmers and divers will use the opportunity to race in a dual meet setting for one of the last times this year before they shave and taper for the championship meets.

With Big Tens right around the corner, the Nittany Lions' practices have not lightened up for these next two dual meets. Senior Amy Lewis says that they have already started a countdown for Big Tens and that has remained the focus of their training.

"We've been doing a lot more fast sets in practice with high intensity," Lewis said. "We're going into this meet with a mindset that it's going to be fun to get up and race, but our mind is more on Big Tens. That's where we will get our excitement from."

This meet marks the second season in a row that Penn State will face Navy. Last year, the women came out victorious over Navy but the men fell short losing by a small margin of 10 points. This year, Navy will come into the meet with a 6-2 record for the women's team and a 5-4 record on the men's side.

Helping to lead the men's side, sophomore Nate Savoy has stepped up throughout the season and swam to four NCAA "B" cuts at the Georgia Invitational in December. Hoping to finish the season strong, Savoy says his goal is to swim towards his fastest in-season best times.

"I'm excited to get the chance to race and be in a home meet environment this weekend," Savoy said. "We have to be able to finish the season on a good note so we're aiming to go some of our fastest times in-season. It'll be fun to have parents and fans in the stands, which we don't always get when we travel."

In addition to a strong home crowd, having a supportive group of more than 60 swimmers and divers helps to set up an exciting environment that is different from the usual practice setting. Freshman Jenna Bickel noted this aspect of the team right away.

"I love how supportive this team is," Bickel said. "We're a close team and the upperclassmen have always been welcoming. We try to stand and cheer for the whole meet because it creates a much more exciting environment and one that will help us race faster."

For several seniors on the team, this meet brings up mixed emotions since they will only have two more opportunities to race in the pool that they have spent countless hours training in over the past four years.

"I'm glad our last two meets are at home especially since it's right before Big Tens," Lewis said. "I'm excited for this weekend but it also gives me chills knowing I don't have many meets left."

This meet will be a Code Blue Blast event to encourage more students to attend. They will earn points towards the reward system and can be entered to win Bon Jovi tickets. Competition starts at 11 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 26. 

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