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|Thursday, Mar. 23-Saturday, Mar. 25|
|IU Natatorium | Indianapolis, Ind.|
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INDIANAPOLIS – Penn State senior Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.) concluded his Nittany Lion career by earning his second All-America nod in as many days, placing 10th in the 100 freestyle in 42.15 seconds for honorable mention recognition Saturday evening at the 2017 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships in the IU Natatorium.
Ryan and sophomore diver Hector Garcia Boissier (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain) totaled 23 points for the Nittany Lions to place them 28th as a team. Texas won the national championship with 542 points for a 193-point margin over second-place California.
“Shane and Hector put the work in, and this is the fastest meet in the world and one with the best divers in the country and, in some cases, the world also,” said Penn State head coach Tim Murphy. “They competed against the top teams in the country and did Penn State proud. We came and left our mark, so that is a credit to both of them.”
Ryan advanced to the consolation finals Saturday by placing 16th in 42.52 in the morning preliminary. He then dropped 0.38 seconds to place second in the B-final.
“I thought he put a nice race together tonight,” said Murphy. “It may have been one of his best races here. He got himself prepared and did a good job. It was a nice swim for him to finish up on.”
Ryan, who became the first Penn State swimmer to advance out of the preliminaries at the Olympics this past summer, closes out one of the most decorated careers in program history. He owns three individual school records, three relay records, two NCAA medals, four All-America nods – including one in the 100 back this week – and three honorable mention All-America honors – including the 100 free Saturday.
“It has been an honor to work with him and coach him,” said Murphy. “I think Penn State was the perfect place for Shane to come and have a tremendous career. We’ll see what’s ahead for him. I think on a world level that his best swimming is yet to come. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Tokyo in 2020, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him swim in the final heat there. He’s represented Penn State well in a lot of different ways.
“Now it’s going to be time for the rest of the team to pick up the mantle and fill the void he is going to leave, in terms of his presence both individually and in the relays.”
Ryan became a three-time All-American in the 100 backstroke Friday, as he placed sixth in the event in 45.17 seconds. It took Ryan an extra swim to reach the championship final. His preliminary time of 45.27 tied him for eighth place with Georgia’s Taylor Dale, forcing a swim-off. The two raced one-on-one following the first round of diving trials and Ryan lowered his time to 45.21, while Dale touched in 45.42. Ryan improved in the final with his best swim of the day to improve two places over his preliminary placing.
The 100 back was Ryan’s second event of the Championships. On Thursday he competed in the 50 freestyle, and three-hundredths of a second were all that kept Ryan from earning an evening swim. His time of 19.31 was the second fastest of his career, but it placed him 17th overall in the preliminaries.
Also on Friday, Garcia placed 16th for his best finish at the NCAA Championships in the 3-meter. Garcia slipped into the consolation finals by 0.35 points with a score of 349.00, and then improved in the finals to 350.60, but remained 16th.
“I think Hector did a great job this week,” said diving coach Dennis Ceppa. “We came into this competition knowing that there were quite a few returning Olympians to the mix that took last year off to prepare for the games. This meant that Hector needed to outperform last year just to finish in a similar standing as a year ago. In the end, Hector finished as a two-time honorable mention All-American for the year. Last season he was only able to earn this honor in one event. It shows his growth as an athlete and competitor. The level of diving at the meet continues to improve by leaps and bounds each year.”
Garcia also scored in the 1-meter Thursday. He is now 2-for-2 in getting six extra dives in the 1-meter at NCAAs after also placing 15th in the event as a freshman. This year he posted a score of 326.65 in the preliminaries and 313.95 in the finals.
ESPNU will air a two-hour, tape-delayed broadcast of the NCAA Championships Wednesday, Apr. 5 at 5 p.m.