Nittany Lions Maintain 6th Place at Big Ten Championships
Feb. 25, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Penn State swimming & diving team held its 6th-place standing at the 2011 Big Ten Championships after a trio of Nittany Lions posted top five finishes Friday night at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Mitch Scherer (Pottstown, Pa.), a junior breaststroker, swam an afternoon-best 53.21 in the 100 breast to take top honors and notch another school record. Scherer went out in 24.84 and closed in 28.37 with his NCAA B cut time. Scherer's outstanding performance was bettered in the Final as he swam another school record, this time 52.96, but fell to Indiana's Cody Miller by .06 for the Big Ten Championship.
Scott Marino (Scotch Plains, N.J.) kicked the afternoon off with another fantastic performance. Following his record-breaking 200 IM showing on Thursday, the junior lowered Penn State's school record in the 400 IM with his 2nd-place, 3:46.08 swim in the event. Marino, who had struggled in the event coming into Big Tens dropped over 18 seconds off his season-best time in the process. Marino went on to finish 3rd in the A Final with a time of 3:47.52, earning 16 points for PSU. Senior James Capparell (Bridgewater, N.J.) swam to 22nd place in a time of 3:57.67 to qualify for the C Final where he finished 18th overall with a personal best time of 3:56.27.
Penn State placed another in an A Final when Graham Risley (Riverside, Ill.) swam a B cut 48.65 in the 100 backstroke to qualify 5th in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.) swam the 10th-fastest of the day with a 48.07 NCAA B time to make the B Final. Risley improved one spot in the 100 back, finishing 4th in a career best time of 47.27, while Grier went on to win the B Final in a time of 47.86, another personal best.
PSU's quick times would continue in the 100 butterfly as Grier posted a career best 47.49 in a tie for 8th place. In the swim-off, however, Grier was bested by Minnesota's Kevin Baseheart for the final spot in the A Final. Grier won the B Final with a career best time of 47.43 for 9 crucial points. Fellow classmates Matt Salig (Downingtown, Pa.) and James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.) each swam times (48.36 and 48.97, respectively) that earned them trips to the C Final. Salig was 2nd in the C Final for 18th, while Wilson was 20th in 49.07.
The first event of the evening saw PSU's 200 freestyle relay post an 8th-place finish led by Shane Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.) who led out in 20.72 before the Lions picked up a 19.86 leg from Risley. John Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Andrew Sideras (Philadelphia, Pa.) rounded out the relay that swam 1:21.12, an NCAA B cut time.
Other events included the the Nittany Lions' Alden swimming to a 24th-place finish in the 200 freestyle race with a time of1:38.09 to lead all PSU swimmers in the event. Divers Jordan Harris (Philipsburg, Pa.) and Jordan Harris (Shillington, Pa.) took part in the 3-meter springboard Friday afternoon, finishing 25th and 27th, respectively.
Penn State currently occupies 6th place with 189.5 points trailing Purdue with 207.5. Michigan leads the competition with 491 followed by Indiana with 434.
The Nittany Lions will return to competition Saturday morning when the preliminary heats for the 200 buck, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly at Noon ET. The opening heats of the 1,650 freestyle start at 4:45 p.m. ET and the finals for swimming and diving including the meet-concluding 400 freestyle relay begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.