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Feb. 26, 2014
Big Ten Championships
Ann Arbor, Mich. Canham Natatorium
No. 24 Penn State
ANN ARBOR, Mich.; Feb. 26, 2014 - The No. 24 Penn State men’s swimming and diving program had a sensational evening in day one of the 2014 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. The team set new Penn State program records in the 200 medley relay, the 800 freestyle relay and the 200 freestyle (the first leg of the 800 freestyle relay) and is in third place with 62 total points.
“I think the women set the tone with their performance at the Big Ten’s last week and I think the men followed up and built on that with their performance tonight,” said head coach Tim Murphy. “We had two relay records, two “A” cuts and an individual record, so I think overall we are off to a solid start. Place wise, I think we did about as well as we could do.”
The Blue and White raced to a second place finish in the 200 medley relay for just the fourth time in school history and recorded a top-five finish in the 800 freestyle relay for the seventh time at the Big Ten Championship.
The Nittany Lions opened the competition in grand fashion, setting a Penn State program record in the 200 medley relay and reaching the NCAA “A” cut in the first event of the four-day competition.
The relay team of Nate Savoy (Reading, Pa.), Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.), James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.) and Shane Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.) turned in a time of 1:24.89 in the 200 medley, besting the school record set last year at the Big Ten Championship of 1:25.38. The time gave the Nittany Lions a second place finish in the event, improving by two spots from last season’s fourth place finish.
Savoy led off the relay with a split of 21.21 in the backstroke, the fastest of all 10 competitors. Wilson followed with a 23.98 split in the breaststroke and then Ryan clocked in at 20.37 in the butterfly portion. Austin anchored the team with a 19.33 in the freestyle to just hold onto second place, as the team touched the wall .01 seconds before Ohio State.
“A second place finish in the 200 medley relay was a nice way to start the meet,” said Murphy. “I think the guys feel good about tonight and are excited about tomorrow morning.”
In the second and final event of the opening night, Penn State obliterated another school record and reached its second NCAA “A” standard of the evening, this time in the 800 freestyle relay. The team consisting of John Hauser (Pottstown, Pa.), Matt Stasiunas (Avondale, Pa.), Bob Bantley (Maple Glen, Pa.) and Scott Heil (New Brunswick, N.J.) finished the race in 6:23.00, improving on the previous record of 6:28.11 by over five seconds.
With the leadoff leg, Hauser managed to break an individual Penn State record in the 200 freestyle with a mark of 1:35.41, .08 seconds faster than Brian Alden’s previous record set in 2010.
“We talked about one session at a time and preparing ourselves and getting ready properly,” said Murphy. “I think now we take a deep breath and get ready for our swims tomorrow. It’s not going to get any easier, it’s an extremely competitive meet but I think we set the tone tonight. I think this is something we can feed off of and we just need to keep the ball rolling now.”Tomorrow marks the first full day of competition at the championship, with prelims scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and the finals will start at 6:30 p.m.
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