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Seniors Poised for Success

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By Briana Zuccarelli, GoPSUSports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- From medical school to a full time career in Los Angeles, California, the seven Nittany Lion swimming and diving seniors are ready for life after Penn State.

"We have three graduating from the business school and already have jobs, two of them on their way to medical school and two of them in the IST (information, science and technology) field," Penn State head coach Tim Murphy said.

With a combined grade point average of about a 3.40, the Nittany Lion seniors have big plans once their Blue and White careers are complete and graduation is upon them. 

For senior swimmer Emily Harris, the marketing major has accepted a job with M&T Bank in management development. She will begin in mid-summer and is looking forward to starting something new in the working world.

"It'll be a huge change," Harris said. "Especially no longer having swimming but I'm definitely looking forward to the next chapter."

McKayla Mawn, a senior diver majoring in biology, has recently been accepted into multiple medical schools but still hasn't decided where the next step in her education will take place.

For Mawn, her decision to pursue medical school all comes from her family.

"My mom is a doctor so it was always in the back of my head," Mawn said. "My sister got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was younger and going through that whole process made me realize that being a doctor would be really cool."

For one Nittany Lion senior in particular, her post-Penn State plans involve picking up her things for a cross country move to Los Angeles.

"I have a job lined up working for a consulting company," Pennsylvania native, Tommie Dillione said. "It's going to be a big step for me and I know swimming has helped me along the way. It set me up for post-college life and I know I'll be ready for it when it comes time." 

With Penn State's final home meet approaching, the seniors are filled with mixed emotions when thinking about their last laps in the McCoy Natatorium.

Senior diver, Connor Scanlon who will be working for Northwestern Mutual upon graduating, said it will be great to be done, but also emotional.

"It has been an amazing experience," Scanlon said. "There are definitely a lot of emotions and hard work going into this. As a freshman it felt like it was going to be forever, but it snuck up on me so fast." 

For Hannah Harper, she  could not be more thankful for her time as a Penn State swimmer, hoping to leave behind a positive legacy.

"The legacy I want to leave is to uplift my teammates and to make them feel super confident in what they are doing," Harper said. "I want to be a positive role model and set a standard for what Penn State swimming is about."

Senior Ryan O'Neill, who competed at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials his sophomore year, is looking forward to coming back and watching his teammates in years to come. With a smile on his face, O'Neill said he wants to be remembered as some who works hard in the pool.

"I would like to have my name on the board," O'Neill said. "So everyone can actually see that I left a mark." 

Holding back both emotions and tears, senior Niki Price expressed the sadness she feels describing the end of an era, awaiting her acceptance into graduate school at Penn State. 

"Something that is really important to me is having fun with the sport," Price said. "That's something that I want to leave with the whole team because the atmosphere and performance will always be better." 

For coach Murphy, he has faith in his seniors and the rest of the team heading into the meet on Friday, also explaining the importance and emotions that come with senior day.

"They've put a lot of time, flat-out dedication and discipline to doing this," Murphy said. "I'm going to enjoy any time I have left with them. I think the underclassman can look up at them and say 'you know what they helped me along the way.'"

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