Penn State Men Place 32nd at NCAA Championships
March 28, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - On the final day of competition, the Penn State men's swimming team finished 32nd at the 2009 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. Throughout the weekend, Vincent Reydams, Patrick Schirk, Jason Goldner, Basil Kaaki and Brian Alden competed against the fastest swimmers across the nation and all came away with Honorable Mention All-America status.
In his signature event of the 200 backstroke, defending champion Schirk placed 14th with a time of 1:42.71. In addition to picking up points for the Lions, he earned his second Honorable Mention All-America accolade of the meet to cap off his career.
Earlier in the day. The 400 freestyle relay team of Reydams. Alden, Kaaki and Goldner fell short of the finals, but took a 21st place finish overall clocking in at 2:56.33.
"I think we were a little flat this weekend," said head coach John Hargis. "This was the fastest meet in the history of the sport, and I think it got to them mentally."
Alden was the first freshman from Penn State at the NCAA Championships since 2002 when Mark Zucca competed in the 100 breaststroke and both medley relays while Paul Kirk swam the 1650 freestyle.
"I tried to teach Brian (Alden) as much as I could this weekend," said Hargis. "Three of the five guys here are seniors so he's more moldable. Next year, he'll be the catalyst of the team. He knows what expected of him and will embrace it in the future. "
The men's swimming and diving team wraps up the 2008-09 season with a 6-5 record and eighth overall in Big Ten standings. It was another record breaking year for the Nittany Lions as four individual and two relay records were broken. Senior Tim Williams improved on his 200 butterfly record from last year while Reydams broke the 50 freestyle record that had previously been held for seven years. Freshman Mitch Scherer took over the top spot in the 100 breaststroke. In addition, Schirk reset his own school record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 46.51 in the preliminary competition yesterday.
Reydams, Alden, Kaaki and Goldner reset the 200 freestyle relay record while Schirk, Scherer, Williams and Reydams took nearly a full second off the 200 medley relay record ending the nine-year reign of Josh Weaver, Bob Molettiere, Gavin Carscallen and Matt Teeter.
"Next year we will have a very young team which is good, but also bad with the inexperience," said Hargis. "Brian (Alden) and Basil (Kaaki) are only two returners who were at the NCAAs this year. As the staff and I continue to build the team we are always working towards this meet, and there will be a lot of newcomers next year that can compete at this level.
"We're excited for next year. It's going to be a lot of fun and our future is very bright."
The Spring signing day for swimming is Wednesday, April 8. For the latest information on Penn State swimming and diving please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.