Pat Schirk Swims to All-American Finish in the 100 Backstroke at NCAA Championships
March 29, 2008
Federal Way, Wash. - Pat Schirk made a bit of history on Friday night as he swam to an All-American finish in the 100 backstroke on the second night of the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, which are being held at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. The junior finished in eighth place in the 100 back, swimming the finals in :47.29. He finished tied for sixth in the morning prelims, breaking his own school record by touching the wall in :46.84, breaking his old mark of :46.99 that he set last year at Big Ten Championships.
Schirk became the first Penn State All-American in men's swimming and diving since Steve Bohner finished eighth in the one-meter springboard diving in 2002. He also became the first swimming All-American since the 800 freestyle relay team finished seventh in 2000. However, the most impressive and historical part of Schirk's performance is that by finishing eighth and by doing so becoming an All-American, he became the first Penn State individual All-American in a swimming event since 1943, when Abel Gilbert was an All-American in three different events.
Since 1943, the Nittany Lions have had numerous individual honorable mention All-Americans in both swimming and diving events, both individual and relays. They have also had a handful of individual All-Americans in diving events as well as the relay team in 2000. However, Schirk is now the first individual swimming All-American in 65 years.
Schirk's performance gave the Nittany Lions their first points of the championships, 11 total, to put Penn State in a tie for 29th place after two days of the championships.
One other Nittany Lion competed on Friday as senior Sean Biedermann swam in his second individual event of the championships. He came in 41st in the 200 free in 1:38.10 after also swimming in the 200 IM prelims yesterday.
Biedermann will be a part of the 400 free relay team that is seeded 13th and will compete tomorrow. Schirk will swim in the 200 back tomorrow, in which he is seeded second, while both Vincent Reydams and Sean Swanepoel will swim in the 100 free.