|Follow PSU Swimming & Diving:||Follow @PennStateSWIM|
MINNEAPOLIS -- A fifth-place finish and school-record score by junior diver Hector Garcia Boissier (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain) led Penn State on the second night of competition in the Big Ten Men's Swimming & Diving Championships Thursday in Minnesota's Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.
Garcia put on his best performance in the 1-meter springboard, totaling 431.95 points to break his own school record of 405.15 set in February 2017 against Villanova.
Garcia was one of four individual finalists for the Nittany Lions Thursday evening, as a pair of freshmen led in the swimming events.
Freshman Gabe Castano (Allentown, Pa.) placed 12th in the 50 freestyle in 19.77 seconds, improving two places despite losing two-hundredths of a second off his preliminary time of 19.75, which was a personal best, NCAA B-cut and good enough to place him in a tie with Brian Hostetler (1999) for fourth all-time in the event.
Classmate Nathan Schiffmann (France) also ascended to fourth in the Penn State annals in an event, winning the bonus final of the 500 freestyle in a personal best and B-cut time of 4:20.99. He placed 17th overall, but swam the ninth-fastest time in the finals.
"Nate got it started off really nice this evening winning the bonus heat," said Murphy. "It was a heck of a swim for a freshman in his first Big Ten final. He just did a really good job racing and got us off to a good start.
"To have two freshmen getting points on the board like that at Big Tens is impressive."
Also swimming in the finals was sophomore Kaelan Freund (Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada), who placed 18th in the 200 IM in a season-best 1:46.69. Senior Connor Scanlon (Laurel, Md.) also scored in the 1-meter springboard, placing 21st with a total of 323.90 points.
Additional notable swims included a pair of Penn State all-time top-10 performances in the morning. In the 500 free, junior captain Robbie Dickson (Greenwich, N.J.) posted a personal-best swim of 4:24.90, moving up to eighth in school history. In the 200 IM, freshman Hayden Harlow (Bentonville, Ark.) posted a personal-best and NCAA B-cut of 1:47.94 to rank ninth in school history.
The Nittany Lions totaled 12 best times on the day.
As a team, Penn State ranks eighth with 195.5 points, trailing Iowa (214 points) for seventh.
"There is still good energy from the guys, and we've got some momentum coming off today with several best times," said Murphy. "Now we need to build off of that. The meet is obviously extremely competitive, very fast, so as I told the team, we need to be a little bit better tomorrow morning and find a way to get some more swims at night."
Thursday, a pair of sixth-place finishes in the opening two relays marked the evening Liam Veregin (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), Freund, Tomer Zamir (Gesher Haziv, Israel) and Castano opened the night for Penn State with a season-best time in the 200 medley relay, finishing in 1:26.16. Schiffmann, Ryan O'Neill (Howell, N.J.), Eben Krigger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Matthew DiNunzio (Murrysville, Pa.) also posted a season best in the 800 free style relay, touching in 6:27.26.
"It was a nice way to start the meet," said Penn State head coach Tim Murphy. "We had some freshman perform for us tonight. Gabe anchoring the 200 medley, Eben in the 800 free and Nate leading off the 800 swam a very solid swim. Overall, we had some good things."
The meet resumes with preliminary heats will beginning at noon on Friday and Saturday, with the finals scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. each night. All sessions will be streamed live via BTN Plus on BTN2Go. Complimentary access to BTN2Go is available to viewers connected to the internet network of a Big Ten university. Fans elsewhere can sign up for the pay-per-view webcasts.
Friday, Feb. 23 - PRELIMS at Noon
400 Individual Medley
3-Meter Diving - Trials (1 p.m.)
3-Meter Diving - Consolation Final
Friday, Feb. 23 - FINALS at 7:30 p.m.
400 Individual Medley
200 Freestyle Relay
Saturday, Feb. 24 - PRELIMS at Noon
Platform Diving - Trials (1 p.m.)
Platform Diving - Consolation Final
1,650 Freestyle (Approx. 4:15 p.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - FINALS at 7:30 p.m.
400 Freestyle Relay