Navy Sinks No. 23 Penn State's Comeback, 155-145
Jan. 14, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No. 23 Penn State men's swimming & diving team fought to a winner-take-all final event in the 400 freestyle relay, but Navy prevailed by .35 for a 155-145 victory on Saturday at McCoy Natatorium. Freshman Nate Savoy (Reading, Pa.) had a standout day, helping the 200 medley relay to a meet opening victory as well as wins in the 200 backstroke and a thrilling 200 IM that set up the thrilling conclusion of the day.
With a one-point difference heading into the final event, Navy's Mac Anthony's 44.34 final leg of the 400 freestyle held off a charging Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.), who swam 44.09, for the Midshipmen (9-1) to escape Happy Valley with a victory. The Mids won in a time of 3:00.52, while PSU posted a 3:00.88 in the thrilling dual meet.
Penn State (2-4) opened with a nearly two-second victory in the 200 medley relay as Savoy, Mitch Scherer (Pottstown, Pa.), Grier and Andrew Sideras (Philadelphia, Pa.) completed the circuit in 1:29.38. PSU made it two-for-two in the next event when Nick Ankosko (East Brunswick, N.J.) won the 1,000 freestyle in a time of 9:23.31, outpacing Navy's Will Norton by 2.7 seconds.
Navy (9-1) would take five of the next six events with Grier and Savoy going one-two in the 100 backstroke. Grier touched the wall in a time of 48.74, just .16 off the McCoy pool record, while Savoy finished second in 49.07. It seemed as though Navy would run away with the dual, but the Nittany Lions roared back led by Savoy.
Savoy convincingly won the 200 back in a time of 1:48.48, besting Navy's Conor Campbell by 2.45 seconds. Scherer continued the comeback with a 2:02.34 swim of the 200 breaststroke backed up by Chris Cipolla (South River, N.J.) in 2:02.88. While the action in the pool was important for Penn State's chances, Jordan Harris (Philipsburg, Pa.) won the 3-meter springboard event with a score of 312.85. While Harris couldn't win the 1-meter with a score of 297.10, he did finish third as Alex Marchinski (Shillington, Pa.) was second, scoring 304.20 points.
Navy won the 500 freestyle, but Grier dominated the 100 butterfly to close the lead once again. Grier won the event clocking a time of 48.45. Then came the heroics of Savoy in the 200 IM. Trailing the race from the 50-yard backstroke point on to Ben Bondurant, Navy had a chance to close out the Lions. Savoy used a strong fly leg to take a .05 lead into the final turn. Savoy narrowly held off Bondurant on the last freestyle stroke to win by .01 in 1:52.22.
The meeting between the two highly competitive clubs was the first encounter since 1944, a Navy victory. The Mids rebounded from a loss last week to nationally ranked Princeton, while Penn State looks to recover in two weeks at Big Ten power Ohio State with national contender Michigan. Penn State hopes to have the services of senior freestyle specialist Brian Alden (Lansdale, Pa.), who sat out Saturday's dual.
More to come...