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Nittany Lions Continue Building Towards Postseason

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11620770.jpegBy Michele Jaroszewski, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a relaxing holiday break, the Penn State men and women's swimming and diving teams were back in action over the weekend as they traveled to Connecticut to compete against Yale and Rutgers. The women dominated in the dual meet with wins over Yale (196-157) and Rutgers (242-111), while the men fell short to Yale (189-153).

As the second half of the season started, the Nittany Lions were looking to use the weekend's meets as a springboard towards the upcoming postseason. Head coach Tim Murphy said that this was going to be a tough weekend physically for the team after coming off of the break. But the Lions answered the bell with a strong outing in Connecticut.

The Nittany Lions wasted no time over the break, taking advantage of the team's availability by traveling to Florida for their annual training trip. The main focus of the trip was to prepare for the Big Ten Championships that will take place in February.

Coach Murphy said that the team's time in the warmer weather paid dividends for training.

"It's healthy to be outside," Murphy said. "We got a nice mix of long course meters in the morning and short course yards at night. Our schedule really allowed them to put out the good effort."

Within the second week, Murphy said he saw positive actions from the swimmers while training.

"Attitude wise, team dynamic wise, we had a real nice rhythm going in that respect," Murphy said. "I was fairly pleased. I thought both from an individual standpoint and a team standpoint we got focused, consistent performances from them."

Murphy said that the one thing that the teams did well was talk to each other to help push and motivate during the practices. Since the practice times were different from a regular day during a semester, the energy was high.

"Their interaction during practice was spirited, and that's what we want," Murphy said. "When we get back and split up again into the two practices, it's kind of hard to work on that."

Though the training was kicked into high gear, the Nittany Lions made sure to save time for team bonding activities outside of the pool.

The majority of the coaching staff and team decided to partake in the drive to Jacksonville to support the football team at the Taxslayer Bowl on Jan.2. Even with Penn State falling short in the end, Murphy said that it was a great experience for the team to share.

As for the rest of the season, Murphy said he hopes to see aggressive swimming and to get fresher and fresher with each week.

Both the men's and women's teams travel to Navy on Saturday. The teams will host senior day on Feb. 16 before final preparations for the Big Ten Championships, which both take place in the latter half of February.

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