By Michele Jaroszewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It is the second week of the Big Ten Championship for the Penn State swimming and diving teams as the men's squad takes its turn traveling to West Lafayette. Last week, the women placed seventh overall in Ann Arbor.
The Nittany Lions had a record-breaking weekend by setting personal bests and creating a new standard relay time. Swimmers Alyson Ackman, Melissa Rodriguez, Katie Rowe and Nikki Price made a highlight performance on Friday, Feb. 19 touching third in the 400-medley relay with a time of 3:15.88. Head coach Tim Murphy said that he was impressed with the way the relay finished.
While he was proud of the team for placing in the top 10, Murphy said that there were some areas that could have been better, and you always want to be at the top.
"In some cases we struggled a little bit, it's part of the equation, it's the last meet of the season," Murphy said. "For majority of the folks on the team, whether they swam well or struggled, they have a lot to be proud."
Coach Murphy said that the men were just as excited to cheer on their teammates back in State College as they would if they were there. With the women setting the tone for the championships, the men were eager and ready to take their turns.
As for who the leaders may be this weekend, Murphy thinks that everyone will have an opportunity to contribute.
"Naturally, the seniors and upperclassmen will play a different role than the underclassmen. But really, everybody is all in," he said. "Everybody has an opportunity to get up, whether it's winning their heat, winning a race, or qualifying for the finals [Wednesday night] everyone is going to have an opportunity to add to the mix. "
Michigan won Big Tens last season for the fifth year, being one of the strongest teams at the Championships. When asked who the biggest competition will be for the team, Coach is looking at as a clean slate.
"The meet starts off 0-0. For the most part we're up against all of them," he said. "There are certainly some teams that are a little stronger than we are. In this point in time, it doesn't really matter; we just take care of ourselves. Get up and get the performance on the board, and that score will take care of itself."
With the first two days down, several Nittany Lions have already met personal bests and are so far ranked ninth in the competition.
The competition will continue Friday starting at 11 a.m. with the 400-yard IM and is set to finish Saturday.