Nittany Lions Earn Six A Final Spots at Big Tens
Feb. 24, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Penn State men's swimming & diving gained some valuable momentum off its 400 medley relay performance on Thursday night as five individuals secured six spots in tonight's A Finals at the Big Ten Championships. Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.) was Penn State's star of Friday afternoon, earning trips to the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke A Finals in personal best times.
Grier (47.25) swam the second fastest 100 backstroke in Penn State history on Friday and now only former NCAA champion Patrick Schirk (46.51, 2009) in the record book. Grier's mark didn't stand for long as freshman Nate Savoy (Reading, Pa.) overtook him for second-best all-time with a 46.82 swim, narrowly missing Schirk's record. Savoy enters tonight's final third, finishing a half-second off of first-place Miguel Ortiz of Michigan.
Grier opened his afternoon in the 100 butterfly, setting an all-time low time of 47.15, missing out on Eugene Botes's Penn State record 47.01 set in 2002. The sophomore out of Hershey High is seeded sixth for tonight's final.
Prior to Grier's performance in the 100 butterfly, Scott Marino (Scotch Plains, N.J.) kicked things off in the 400 IM, earning an A Final spot with a season best time of 3:48.51. Marino qualified sixth, while teammates Chris Cipolla (South River, N.J.) and Kurt Ratcliff (Centreville, Va.) both made the B Final in personal-best times of 3:54.05 and 3:54.40, respectively. The two times also place Cipolla (sixth) and Ratcliff (seventh) in the PSU all-time Top 10 for the event.
Penn State's solid afternoon outing continued into the 100 breaststroke as Brian Alden (Lansdale, Pa.) and Mitch Scherer (Pottstown, Pa.) qualified fifth and sixth, respectively. Alden swam a personal best time of 53.53, the second-fastest time in PSU history, while Scherer touched the wall in 53.67. Last season, Scherer was second in the event, barely missing out on a Big Ten Championship, swimming a school record 52.96. James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.) and Brent Sanderson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) earned B Final spots with swims of 55.29 and 55.39 each. Both times put the duo in the Penn State record book as well with Wilson checking in at fifth and Sanderson moving up to sixth.
In all, Penn State has 10 individuals who can score tonight ahead of this afternoon's 3-meter springboard competition and the 200 freestyle relay. Penn State sits in sixth place, eight points behind Purdue and two points ahead of Minnesota. The finals from Iowa's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.