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Penn State has won 92 Big Ten titles, including 21 in women's soccer (16 regular season).
Penn State clinched five Big Ten titles in a span of 30 days during the fall of 2005, including one for the women's volleyball team.
In 2008, Penn State captured its third Big Ten title in football en route to a trip to the Rose Bowl.
The wrestling team began a string of four-straight Big Ten titles in March of 2011.
Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Eleven members of women's swimming and diving team arrived in North Carolina and are ready to race in the NCAA championship meet. Penn State will face its toughest competition yet, racing against Division I teams from across the nation.
"Last year we swam really well at this meet and placed 18th," explained senior Carolyn Fittin. "This year, the goal is to score more points and have our relays make it back to finals."
The NCAA Championships are the most selective meet in collegiate swimming, with strict qualification requirements. In order to garner an automatic invite, a swimmer must achieve an "A" standard time in an event. That swimmer is also eligible to compete in bonus events, but they must have a "B" standard time for their selected races.
In each event, there are anywhere from 35-40 swimmers invited. Once the number of swimmers with "A" times are established, those with "B" qualifying times are invited based on their position in national rankings. Additionally, relays are another opportunity to receive an invitation. Swimmers do not have to qualify individually for the meet in order to compete on a relay team, which have their own "A" and "B" standards.
For the Nittany Lions, seven out of the 11 swimmers competing qualified for events individually. In the senior class, Megan Siverling qualified in the 500 and 1650 freestyle events, while Fittin was invited in the 50 freestyle. Both Siverling and Fittin have competed at NCAAs in past seasons. For the junior Nittany Lions, Ally Ackman qualified in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, Melissa Rodriguez in the 200 breaststroke, and Katie Rowe in the 200 butterfly. Ackman, Rodriguez and Rowe were also members of the 2014 NCAA Team for Penn State. The youngest class competing this week is the sophomore group, led by Katelyn Sowinski who qualified in the 500 freestyle and 200 butterfly, and Casey Francis who will swim the 200 butterfly. Sowinski also competed at NCAAs last season.
Penn State will also participate in the 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle and 800 freestyle relays, as well as the 200 and 400 medley relays.
"We did not swim as well as we were hoping at Big Tens," Fittin said. "But we still have 11 girls who qualified for this meet and we know we can end the season on a high note."
The Nittany Lions placed seventh in the Big Ten, dropping from their third place finish in 2014.
"We knew we had to bounce back and be ready to race this week. We spent spring break training and preparing- I think that's going to show," Fittin explained. "The turn around time between NCAA's and Big Tens is quick, but we feel ready."
While NCAAs marks the end of the season for Penn State, it also marks the end of four long swimming careers. The entire senior class qualified for NCAAs and will represent the blue and white one last time. This week marks the senior class of Carolyn Fittin, Caitlyn Karr, Katelyn Miller and Megan Siverling will represent Penn State together at the NCAA championships.
"As a class, we want to go in and have fun with it," said Karr. "We want to enjoy every last moment together."
Competition begins on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Greensboro, North Carolina.
By Meghan Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions have arrived at the Big Ten Championships and are ready for a busy few days. This week marks the culmination of grueling practices, a tough dual meet schedule and a year's worth of hard work.
But for the men's swimming and diving team, the past few weeks have been about more than training, they have been about preparation.
"Race strategy, we've been trying to clean up the little things - tempo, turns - and staying relaxed," said head coach Tim Murphy.
Last year the Nittany Lions placed fifth, close behind Minnesota and just ahead of Purdue and Wisconsin.
This year boasts tougher competition, with seven out of the 10 teams ranked the top 25 in the nation, three of which are in the top 10.
Defending champion, Michigan, is ranked fifth, followed by Ohio State and Indiana in eighth and ninth, respectively. Wisconsin and Minnesota are currently polled at 19th and 22nd, and not far behind is Penn State at 24th.
"The Big Ten is a heavy hitting conference," said senior Larry Virgilio. "But the boys look good, feel good, and we're excited."
Although competition begins in earnest on Thursday for the men's team, the Nittany Lions had their first dose of championship season last week, with the Big Ten Women's Championships. The women placed seventh overall and broke four records.
For the men, seeing the teammates they train with everyday going best times is a great motivator.
"We are excited and ready to get this championship going," said senior Nate Savoy. "The competition is going to be great and the team is ready to see what we can do."
One of the key factors for the Nittany Lions this week is going to be staying relaxed under pressure, which is something they worked on leading up to the meet.
"We've done a good job pacing ourselves and not getting ahead of ourselves," explained Murphy.
For many swimmers, the Big Ten Championship is a final opportunity to qualify for the NCAA championship meet in March.
As the most elite in college swimming, NCAA's showcases the fastest collegiate swimmers across the country in one setting. Although the number invited per event changes each year, usually around the top 30 fastest times in each event are able to participate.
Last year, the Nittany Lions sent seven members of the men's team to the NCAA's and finished 17th, recording the most points at the meet for Penn State in over a decade.
While the Nittany Lions look to add to that number this year, the main focus for the time being is fast swimming in Iowa City and showcasing their year's worth of tough training.
"The work is done," said Murphy, "It's time to just pin our ears back and seeing what we've got,"
Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "Top three always has a nice ring to it and we always like to be better," said head coach Tim Murphy with a smile while speaking about the Women's Big Ten Championships.
The Nittany Lions have arrived in Columbus, Ohio, and are anticipating four days of fast swimming.
"They're prepared, they're ready to go," explained Murphy. "They're anxious, but that's okay, we're saving that energy for race time."
The women's team wrapped up their regular season with a 10-1 record, their only loss coming by a few points to Michigan in November. The Nittany Lions will have an opportunity to revisit the Wolverines this week.
"We're up against a lot of stiff good competition, we have to respond to that," said Murphy.
Last year the Nittany Lions captured a third place finish at Big Tens, behind the defending champions, Wisconsin and runner-up Indiana.
"We need to swim aggressive and swim smart. We want to be under control but we want to be a little bold with what we try to do," said Murphy. "As opposed to having the competition impact us, we want to have an impact on the competition."
One of the biggest differences between last year's Big Ten Championships and this year is allowing the C Final to score.
Historically, only the top 16 finishers from prelims (the top two heats) were in a position to score in finals, even though the top 24 finishers were invited back for a second swim.
While allowing the top 24 to put points on the board gives the opportunity for more swimmers to add to their teams score, Murphy does not believe it will sway the outcome of the meet. He does however believe it will impact the atmosphere.
"It's going to give some people a chance to score who have not in the past and it's an incentive to make it back," explained Murphy. "I think it's going to add to the level of excitement, across the board, that's a given."
While swimming is often conveyed as sport focused on individual races, it is actually very team oriented. The Nittany Lions consider themselves a family and each team member plays an important role in contributing to the team's overall performance.
"We're supportive of one another and we have fun competing and practicing against each other," explained senior Carolyn Fittin. "We have developed a great team dynamic throughout the year and I think that's really going show at Big Tens."
The atmosphere at Big Tens has an excitement level of it's own. For many swimmers, it is the culmination of a grueling a season and a final opportunity for best times and to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
For the Nittany Lions the goal is to stay focused and ready to race.
"We need to just take care of ourselves and swim really tough," said Murphy. "There's going to be three, four, people going into the wall at the same time. The difference is going to be who gets their hand on the wall first in those situations."
With tough competition and evenly matched teams across the Big Ten, this year's competition is shaping up to be a fight to the finish.
The meet kicks off this evening with the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. Individual events begin on Wednesday and continue through Saturday.
By Meghan Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Imagine swimming in a pool controlled by a massive current, one that tugs from all sides and prohibits you from reaching the other end. That is how it feels to swim in an Endless Pool.
Endless pools have become increasingly popular in recent years and are used by competitive swimmers at all levels. Shorter than a regulation 25 yards, endless pools are typically about 10 feet in length and around four feet deep. They are a great tool for working on technique, and with enough room for only one swimmer, allow for individualized attention.
The Nittany Lions welcomed their own Endless Pool earlier this season. With the rapidly approaching championship meets for both the men's and women's teams, the Endless Pool has become a key component in preparing for the Big Ten Championships.
"It's a great tool in helping us perfect technique," senior Caitlyn Karr said. "Especially with how close we are to Big Tens, every little thing counts at this point."
The first swimmer to use the Endless Pool was senior Katelyn Miller, who specializes in sprint freestyle events.
"It's actually pretty cool- it uses mirrors which is useful because the coaches can tell you something over and over again," MIller said. "But being able to actually see the things they're talking about makes the learning process much more effective.
With mirrors on the bottom and hanging over the sides, it allows swimmers to watch themselves swim and make adjustments based on feedback from coaches.
"It's a huge help with fixing strokes," senior Nate Savoy said. "The mirrors really make it easy to see what you're not doing correctly and to be able to fix it."
Prior to using the Endless Pool, the only way to breakdown technique from underneath was to use an underwater camera and to playback the film for the swimmer to make corrections. The use of mirrors provide a much more effective and efficient way to make adjustments in stroke.
As with any sport, technique plays a major role in swimming - even slightest change in stroke mechanics can lead to drops in time. Additionally, strong technique is an important component of injury prevention, especially in strokes that rely heavily on shoulder movement, like freestyle, backstroke and butterfly.
With the Big Ten Championships less than a week away for the women's team, keeping the Nittany Lions healthy and ready to race is crucial.
Last year, the women placed third in the Big Ten and are looking to place higher this year.
at Big Tens, the scoring system had a dependency on prelims swims. Although the
top 24 swimmers would be invited back to finals, only those placed in the top
16 were eligible to score. Even if someone placed above 16th place posted a
faster time than swimmers in the A or B heat at finals, they would not score.
But this year, things will be different.
"One of the biggest changes from last year is that the C Final will score," Karr explained. "That gives a chance for more girls to score and can definitely have an impact on the outcome of the meet."
The women are a strong contender heading into Big Tens. Their only loss this season was to Michigan, and was by a very small margin.
Check back next week for a full Women's Big Ten Championship preview.
By Meghan Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fifteen seniors wrapped up their last meet in McCoy Natatorium with a win on Saturday against Navy. Seniors and families gathered on deck prior to the start of the meet where they passed through a tunnel of teammates and received a letterman's blanket as a sign of recognition for their four years of commitment.
Saturday's victory moved the women to 12-1 for the season, and they are currently ranked 17th in the nation. For the men, the win over Navy moved them to a 6-3 record.
Like any Division I sport, swimming requires an enormous amount of discipline and commitment. Each week consists of multiple two-a-day workouts in addition to time spent in the weight room. But the senior class' resilience and dedication throughout the past four years has not gone unnoticed.
"I appreciate their efforts and I appreciate their commitment," head coach Tim Murphy explained. "It's easy to stop doing this, this requires a lot of time, this is a long season. They have kept going and they have stayed with it. That in of itself, I admire and I respect."
In addition to commitment, another key component of the team is communication and working together. The Nittany Lions are a tight-knit group; the men's and women's team practice together every day and consider themselves a family. For senior Jonathan Ekstrom, one of the biggest takeaways he has from his time as Nittany Lion is the camaraderie amongst the team.
"There's a sense of teamwork you get," he said. "You're working with all different kinds of people to accomplish something like competing on a Big Ten squad means a lot not only on a personal level but in the professional level as well from what you learn from the experience."
While Saturday's meet was the final time seniors will race in McCoy Natatorium, the Nittany Lions' season is far from over.
Penn State will travel to two invitational meets in the upcoming weeks, one at Bucknell University and another at Virginia Tech.
"The seniors still have a month, some of them two months, to leave their mark." Murphy said. "I told them on training trip that every time they walk on the deck this is their opportunity to leave behind something that others can build on. I think they're in the process of doing that."
Despite the upcoming invitational meets, the Nittany Lions will spend the next month preparing for the Big Ten Championships. The women will travel to Ohio State University the week of February 18th and the men will venture to the University of Iowa the week of February 25th.
Last year the women finished third in the Big Ten while the men wrapped up their season with a fifth place finish.
Following the Big Ten Championships, those who qualify will compete at the NCAA Championships in March.
By Meghan Miceli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This weekend's swimming and diving matchup against the United States Naval Academy is more than just the final dual meet of the 2014-'15 season-- it is the last time 14 Nittany Lions will compete in McCoy Natatorium.
This is the second group to graduate under head coach Tim Murphy after he took over as head coach in 2013.
"This group has a willingness and desire and with how much they have invested in this team for them to continue to do it is just a good mark of their character, their discipline, and overall their affection for what they're doing," Murphy explained. "Also where they're doing it and most of all, whom they're doing it with, that's what stands out."
Senior Day is historically the most emotional meet. Each senior passes through a tunnel of created by their teammates where they meet the coaching staff at the end. Next, they are then handed a letterman's blanket and flowers and are recognized for their dedication and hard work invested throughout their collegiate career.
For senior Katelyn Miller, her four years as a member of the team have flown by.
"It's crazy. As a freshman, I remember looking at the seniors and wondering if I was going to make it that far," Miller said with a laugh. "It's surreal that it's finally here. Walking down the pool deck with the whole team on either side of me is when I think it's going to hit me."
Miller is one of the five women graduating from the team, and one of the four seniors who competed and scored at the 2014 NCAA Championships for the Nittany Lions.
Another senior member and scorer from the 2014 NCAA team is Megan Siverling. When asked about what she would miss most about competing for the Nittany Lions, Siverling had a great answer.
"I'm going to miss the fact that something that seems to trivial, like athletic performance, represents something so much bigger than ourselves," Silverling said. "Going a certain time isn't personal, I'm representing Penn State and it makes you better. We're representing such an awesome institution that so many people love and follow so passionately. "
On the men's team, the Nittany Lions will lose nine, including captain Larry Virgillio.
"If you would have told me four and a half years ago if I would even think that I would be swimming for Penn State, I would have called you crazy," Virgilio laughed. "To be a captain at the end of four years, along with Nate (Savoy), it means more than words can describe."
But not all members of the 2015 class have spent the past four years as a Nittany Lion. Ryan MaGee spent his freshman year at Maryland before transferring to Penn State.
"Coming to Penn State has been awesome. Being here has taught me the importance of working as one machine not just an individual," MaGee explained. "We really are a second family. There's such a sense of unity here at Penn State, I'm definitely going to miss it."
Team unity is a key value among the men's and women's teams; it is something that has made the group stronger and contributed to their success.
"They each are making or have made are making a contribution to not only themselves but the program," Murphy said. "It's easy to stop doing this because this requires a lot of time, it's a long season but they've kept with it. That in it of itself I admire and respect."
A win this weekend would put the women at 11-1 on the season, and the men at 6-3. But Coach Murphy is not worried about Senior Day affecting the Nittany Lion's performance in the pool.
"When they look up an see their parents, their family, their friends realizing that, this is the last time they're going to be swimming in a dual meet, in this pool - it'll hit them," Murphy said. "But we know what we have to do."
Saturday's meet begins at 11 a.m. with Senior Day beginning around 10:40 a.m. in McCoy Natatorium.