By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - It may be a new year, but Penn State swimming and diving is in full
swing as they prepare to enter the final stretch of their season. After a short
break, the teams are back in action this weekend as they host Yale and Rutgers
at McCoy Natatorium.
five things you need to know on the program heading into 2017:
1. National and Big Ten Leaders
continues to be a leader in the Big Ten in his first season back following
competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He was named the Big Ten Swimmer of the
Week on November 23, his fourth time receiving that honor this season, and the
sixth of his career.
in the top 10 in the Big Ten in all three of his individual events: the
100-yard backstroke (4th), 100-yard freestyle (7th) and
50-yard (6th). He is also in the top 10 nationally for those events
and is the only swimmer in the nation to rank in the top 10 in all three.
Kaelan Freund has been having a breakout season and was named the Big Ten Freshman
of the Week on November 23. He boasts the twelfth-best time in the Big Ten in
the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
women, three swimmers rank in the top 10 of their individual events. Katie
Saloky (50 free), Ally McHugh (400 IM) and Katelyn Sowinski (200 fly) are all
ranked eighth in the conference in their respective events. Additionally, Casey
Francis (mile) and Niki Price (200 backstroke) both earned NCAA B-cut times.
2. Nittany Lions Hosting
Back-to-Back Home Meets
on the road for all but one of their meets in the fall semester, Penn State
will be back in McCoy Natatorium for the next three weekends.
on Yale and Rutgers this weekend on both Friday and Saturday. The Nittany Lions
will then face the Navy Midshipmen on January 21 followed by two days of the
Diving Invitational on January 28 and 29.
a really good way to start off the home stretch here," said head coach Tim
Murphy. "Being at home is always nice, there will be some energy in the air,
and we haven't raced in awhile. We're going to get some stern tests with Yale
and Rutgers and so we're looking forward to it. It's time to wake up and see
where we're at and really push the gas pedal down and start really racing."
promotions highlight the final meets of the season. Saturday, January 21
against Navy will be Military Appreciation Day. The meet will also highlight
Penn State's Ability Athletics program. The intermission breaks will feature an
ability athletics exhibition race as well as the second annual Great Penn State
Duck Toss, fans will throw rubber ducks into the pool during the second
intermission. The goal is to try to get their duck into hoops placed throughout
the water. The toss will feature lots of prize opportunities.
4. Senior Day
As the end
of the regular season looms closer, Penn State will be honoring 12 seniors on
senior day January 21 against Navy. Since arriving on campus, this group has
gone through countless hours of training and travelling together, and above
all, has shown commitment and leadership to the team.
seniors always play an important role in what you're doing because of their
experience, because of their maturity," Murphy said. "They all have played a
role in contributing to Penn State swimming and diving, who we are and who we
want to be and we've got a short time left with them so we're going to enjoy
that and we're looking forward to it."
5. Championships Right Around the
end of the competition season comes the start of championship season. The Big
Ten Championships will be held at Purdue University from February 15-18.
Following Big Tens is the NCAA Championships on March 16-18 in Indianapolis.
require swimmers to qualify in advance, so Murphy is looking to new and old
swimmers to reach those times.
everyone to have a big meet," Murphy said. "Some of the girls have been there
before, so getting back there, qualifying for individual events is something
that you want to see. But really, we want to see some new ladies and new guys
make those qualifying standards or be on relays."