Shane Ryan Records Best Finish in 100 Backstroke in PSU History at NCAAs
March 29, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas; March 28, 2014 - Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.) posted the best finish in Penn State history in the 100 backstroke at the NCAA Championships on Friday evening, finishing in a blistering time of 44.78 to earn a spot on the podium with a second place finish. The sophomore shattered his own program record of 45.13, which he set a month ago at the Big Ten Championships.
Ryan came into the event with the top time entering the championships but nearly failed to qualify for the “A” final. The Havertown, Pa. native posted the eighth fastest time in the preliminary rounds with a mark of 45.75 to just make the cut for a shot at the championship.
However, after ensuring a spot in the final, Ryan left little doubt that he was among the nation’s elite in the event. The sophomore was one of two competitors to post a sub-45 second time in the race, finishing just 0.15 seconds behind California’s Ryan Murphy who claimed the gold. To put it in perspective of how fast Ryan and Murphy’s times were, Murphy finished just 0.03 seconds behind the NCAA record, which is held by U.S. Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, who posted a time of 44.60 in the race in 2006 with Florida.
With the second-place finish, Ryan joins a short list of Nittany Lions who have earned first team All-America status in an individual event. The sophomore becomes the fifth Penn State athlete to finish in the top eight and earn the honors, joining teammate Nate Savoy (2012), Patrick Schirk (2008), Chris Devine (1994) and Abel Gilbert (1944). Ryan’s second place finish is the second-best for a Nittany Lion at the NCAA Championships in any event, as Schirk is the program’s lone national champion, winning the 200 backstroke in 2008.
Ryan was not the only member of the Blue and White to swim in the 100 backstroke, as Nate Savoy (Reading, Pa.) also turned in a top-10 performance in the competition. Savoy placed 9th after the preliminary rounds, just one spot away from the “A” final. In the “B” final, the junior touched the wall second with a time of 46.00 to garner top-10 status and earn the Nittany Lions seven points. The finish earned Savoy honorable mention All-America honors.
To go along with the exceptional individual performances on Friday, the Nittany Lions also put together an impressive showing from their 200 medley relay team. After qualifying for the “B” final with a 13th place effort, posting a time of 1:25.98, the team of Savoy, James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.), Ryan and Shane Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.) raced to an 11th place finish in the final with a time of 1:25.61. The finish gives the team honorable mention All-America accolades.
The Nittany Lions will be back in the pool on Saturday for the third and final day of the NCAA Championships in Austin. The preliminary rounds are set to begin at noon with the finals slated for an 8 p.m. start.