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Ryan, Saloky and McHugh shine
Shane Ryan sets a facility record in the 100 free; Women post season-best times
Tim Murphy is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Nittany Lion men's and women's swimming and diving programs.
Penn State has seen continued success under Murphy’s guidance. In 2015-16, 10 Lions qualified for the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships and led Penn State to its third consecutive top-25 finish. Six swimmers earned a combined 10 All-America honorable mention honors. On the men’s side, a trio of divers reached the NCAA Men’s Championships, becoming the first Nittany Lions to qualify since 2007 and marking the first time since 1998 that as many as three qualified in the same year. Hector Garcia earned honorable mention All-America honors, becoming the first Penn State diver to do so since 2006.
The men’s swimming team was short-handed as its top swimmer, Shane Ryan, spent the academic year training for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Ireland. Ryan became the first Nittany Lion men’s swimmer to advance out of the preliminaries and the highest finishing in program history by placing 16th in the 100m back. Ryan’s mere participation was historic for the Penn State swimming program as he became the second from the men’s side to compete in the Olympics and the first since the 2004 games in Athens. He also will be the first in program history to return to Penn State after competing in the Olympics.
For a fifth consecutive, year, the women’s team was a College Swimming Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team. Additionally, seven individuals were named Scholar All-Americans while one earned honorable mention Scholar All-America recognition. Three on the men’s side were named honorable mention Scholar All-Americans.
During in Murphy’s second season at the helm in 2014-15, Shane Ryan earned a third-place finish in the 100 back at the NCAA Championships, as well as a Big Ten Championship, and Nate Savoy concluded his Nittany Lion career with a pair of honorable mention All-America honors. On the women’s side, the 800 freestyle relay team garnered first-team All-America honors, and Alyson Ackman and Carolyn Fittin garnered a combined three honorable mention All-American honors to lead the women to their second-straight top-20 finish under Murphy.
In the classroom, the women’s team posted the 10th-highest GPA in Division I to earn recognition as a CSCAA Scholar All-America team for the fourth consecutive year, and had five student-athletes recognized individually as CSCAA Scholar All-Americans and another nine earn honorable mentions. Only Georgia (11 All-Americans, 4 honorable mentions) and Minnesota (10 All-Americans, 5 honorable mentions) had more honorees with 15 each, while Boise State tied PSU with 14 (2 All-Americans, 12 honorable mentions). The Nittany Lion men also earned CSCAA Scholar All-America Team honors and had four individual honorable mentions.
In his first season, Murphy led both the men's and women's programs to top-20 finishes at the 2014 NCAA Championships and top-five finishes at the Big Ten Championships, marking one of the most successful seasons in school history for either program.
A total of 20 Penn State program records were broken throughout the season, including nine for the men's team and 11 for the women's squad. Penn State sent 19 swimmers to the 2014 NCAA Championships, where the Nittany Lion men placed 17th and the women finished 18th. Of the seven men and 12 women who competed at the national meet, 12 received College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) honorable mention All-America recognition while sophomores Shane Ryan and Alyson Ackman claimed first team All-America accolades for their efforts. With Ryan and Ackman both earning first team laurels, Penn State has now had at least one member from each squad on the first team on three occasions (2002, 1994).
The men's 17th place finish at the National Championships counts as the fifth best in program history while the squad's total of 72.5 points is the second most by any Nittany Lion team. With their 42-point, 18th place performance, the women's team turned in the fifth most points and fourth highest finish in school history.
The Blue and White also saw great success at the conference level, placing fifth on the men's side and third on the women's side at the Big Ten Championships. Ryan paced the men's team, claiming gold in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke to earn the title of Swimmer of the Big Ten Championships. Ackman and senior Mackenzie Powers led the charge for the women with each taking home gold in one individual event and combining for five podium appearances.
The Nittany Lions excelled in the classroom as well. Fourteen women, a program record, and four men collected CSCAA of Scholar All-American honors, and 13 men and 16 women earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades.
Murphy came to Penn State on August 12, 2013 after spending the previous 15 seasons as Harvard's men's head coach. He is the seventh coach in men's history and the fifth coach for the women's program.
During his time with the Crimson, Murphy compiled a 122-11 dual meet record and captured six Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League titles. He posted seven undefeated dual meet seasons and brought three Top 20 recruiting classes to Cambridge, Mass. during his final three seasons. His 2012-13 recruits were ranked as the nation's No. 10 recruiting class by CollegeSwimming.com.
Murphy's swimmers own 13 Harvard school records, four of the five relays marks and own almost 80 percent of the Top 10 marks in Crimson history. He has seen seven of his student-athletes earn Academic All-Ivy League and his 2006 squad earned the College Swimming Coaches Association of American Academic Team Award.
Eighteen different student-athletes have earned All-America honors on 72 occasions, with 14 of those swimmers garnering first team All-American honors 44 times. Murphy watched as his contingent brought home 97 individual league championships and 31 relay titles, winning at least five individual or relay championships on 13 occasions. During his tenure, the Crimson won at least 10 individual/relay titles at six league championships.
He has seen 63 swimmers or divers earn first team All-Ivy League on 251 different occasions, along with numerous second team All-Ivy League picks. Alex Meyer finished 10th at the 2012 Olympic Games in the 10K Marathon event and is an Open Water World Champion in the 25K event.
Murphy was appointed as the head Olympic coach for the men's open water team at the 2012 Olympic Games and serves on the OIOC committee for USA Swimming. He has placed athletes on Olympic, World University, Pan-Pacific and Pan-American teams, including Meyer, who was named the 2011 Fran Crippen Memorial Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year by USA Swimming.
Murphy, who served as an assistant men's coach at the 2009 World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia, also worked as an assistant at the 2001 World University Games in Beijing and at the 1993 World Short Course Championships. He was also a member of the Open Water Staff at the 1998 World Championships in Australia.
Before his arrival at Harvard, Murphy spent 13 years as the head coach of the nationally renowned Wilton YMCA Wahoos in Wilton, Conn. He led the Wahoos to seven national championships and was named the YMCA National Coach of the Year in 1989. Murphy also garnered Connecticut Swimming Coaches Association Coach of the Year honors in 1988 and 1998.
Murphy graduated from West Chester (Pa.) University in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from. He also earned his master's degree in physical education from West Chester in 1988. Murphy was inducted into the West Chester Hall of Fame in 2012.