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Women's Swimming and Diving Bounce Back

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's swimming and diving team came out with a win over Navy on Saturday, finishing with a final score of 185-107.

women.jpgThe last time the Nittany Lions competed, they fell short to a strong Arkansas team. However, the women did not let this loss keep them down for long. They opened the meet going 1-2-3 in the 200-medley relay.

"It sets the tone," head coach John Hargis said. "You win that first relay, the momentum continues at that point. A couple weeks ago in Arkansas we lost that first relay which is not something we're used to doing. It immediately deflated them and you could see that in the next few swims."

Senior Paige Whitmire also noted how crucial winning the first relay is in order to set up the rest of the meet, especially since the 200-medley relay is the first event at Big Tens.

"It's important to set the tone for any meet and it's also good practice for Big Tens because that's the ultimate goal," Whitmire said. "We want to get out fast so the other girls are psyched up to go fast too."

Building off of the momentum of the first relay, the women gained confidence to close out the meet strong by re-establishing the strength they have shown throughout the whole season and were able to walk away from the meet with a 78-point victory.

"I think today they swam with a little bit more confidence than they did at Arkansas," Hargis said. "I think they remembered that loss at Arkansas and wanted to re-evaluate, move forward and get passed that."

One aspect of competing that the coaches have continued to stress is the importance of finishing races strong and capitalizing on the closer races. In some meets, the difference between a win and a loss can come down to one close race.

"The biggest thing I saw in terms of change was we're winning close races," Hargis said. "That's a good habit for us to get into. It's an area that we've needed to improve all year and it seemed today that we were winning some of the close races that we needed to win."

The divers also saw success on the boards with Megan Springsteen leading the way. She finished the meet winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter events.

"The meet went well for us today," Springsteen said. "I had a new dive on the 3-meter that I've been working on and I was happy to be able to do it successfully. We've been breaking down dives and making little improvements that add up to big differences. All of this will help my confidence going into Big Tens."

With only one dual meet left for the season, emotions are starting to set in for some of the seniors. Whitmire, who started swimming 15 years ago, has a mix of emotions especially as the end gets closer and closer.

"Swimming D-1 is really hard while you're doing it and your waiting for it to be over, but when it comes down to the end you really don't want it to be over," Whitmire said. "I'm sad, I'm excited, I'm nervous because I want to end on a good note, but I'm mostly sad."

The Nittany Lions have a quick turn around with another meet coming up next weekend. Resting when they are not training and focusing on small details will help them prepare for another opportunity to race.

"We're going to need to focus on the little things in practice," Chelsea Weedman said. "We'll need to continue working on our nutrition and getting enough sleep to prepare for the next few weeks."

The swimmers and divers will take on Towson on Feb. 2. The six senior women will be recognized in a ceremony before the meet starts at 1 p.m.

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