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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ally McHugh won the women’s 500 freestyle in record time and Hector Garcia Boissier won the men’s 1-meter dive to lead the Penn State swimming & diving teams on the first day of competition at the Ohio State Invitational Friday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
McHugh’s time was one of three NCAA B-cut times for the Penn State women, while the Penn State men also posted a pair of B-cut times and Garcia yet again exceeded the men’s diving NCAA Zone standard. After the first day of competition, the Penn State women rank seventh with a team score of 75 points, while the men are sixth with 87 points.
“We had numerous lifetime bests and numerous season bests, so I’m fairly pleased with the first day,” said Penn State head coach Tim Murphy. “It was a good day for us. We had a nice presence in the pool, a nice presence on the deck, and now the meet begins as we have to get right back at it tomorrow morning.
“We have a nice vibe going right now, so we just have to build off of it and I expect that we will.”
McHugh’s time of 4:38.77 was almost a full two seconds quicker than the previous record of 4:40.72, set by Katelyn Sowinski in 2015. It is also an NCAA B-cut and ranks among the top-five quickest times in the country entering the weekend. McHugh’s previous best was 4:40.73 set in the postseason last year.
“Ally was out for a little bit injured, but she had been doing a lot of work,” said Murphy. “Tonight, she did what she always does: she stayed in touch with the lead pack and then just finished. Her last 100 (yards) were awesome. I think she surprised herself a little bit. That was a heck of a swim for a new team record.
“She had both our men’s and women’s teams on their feet roaring with the way that she finished that race.”
Garcia posted a finals score of 384.05 to place first over Notre Dame’s Joe Coumos (381.25) in the 1-meter dive.
“Hector did an awesome job tonight,” said Murphy. “It was a big boost on the men’s scoring and Connor Scanlon placed 14th, so both of those guys put some points on the board for us.”
McHugh was not alone in having success for the women. Niki Price also reached an A-final, doing so in the 200 IM with a personal-best and NCAA B-cut time of 1:59.11 that ranks her as the seventh-fastest swimmer in the event all-time at Penn State. She finished 10th in the finals with a time of 2:01.68. Price also tied her personal best in the 50 freestyle prelims, finishing in 23.06 seconds, and she placed 17th overall in 23.13. Price was not the lone Lion standout in the 200 IM, as freshman Jane Donahue also swam a personal-best and NCAA B-cut time, placing 16th in 2:01.05.
On the men’s side Kaelan Freund posted a season best and NCAA B-cut time in the men’s 200 IM, placing 13th in 1:47.52, and in the 500 freestyle, freshman Nathan Schiffmann swam a personal best and NCAA B-cut of 4:24.01 in the prelims to become the sixth-fastest performer in the event in Penn State history. His finals time of 4:25.41 was good for 14th place overall. Scanlon scored 276.35 points in the 1-meter dive to also place 14th.
Additional top performances on the women’s side included freshman Camryn Barry and senior Tommie Dillione with strong swims in the 500 free. Barry swam a personal best of 4:46.93 to place 12th, while Dillione swam a personal best of 4:48.82 in the prelims and ultimately finished 20th with a finals time of 4:51.62. In the 50 free, Katrina Kuhn reached the C-final swimming a personal-best 23.28 in the prelims.
Additional top performances on the men’s side included freshman Gabe Castano, who swam a personal-best 20.36 seconds in the 50 free to lead the Nittany Lions with a 16th-place finish. Junior captain Robbie Dickson, who advanced to the C-final in the 500 free, placing 27th in a season-best 4:29.53, while freshman Hayden Harlow reached the C-final of the 200 IM and posted a personal best time of 1:50.50 to place 28th.
The Penn State women started the evening finals strong with a fourth-place finish (1:31.42) out of nearly 30 teams for its 200 free relay team of Price, Kuhn, Ann Tolan and Donahue. The Penn State saw similar success in the 400 medley relay, as Liam Veregin, Freund, Sterg Dikos, and Castano combined to place sixth in 3:14.26.
No. 19 Ohio State leads the women’s team standings with 206 points and is trailed by No. 8 NC State (200.5), No. 15 Kentucky (186), No. 25 Notre Dame (185), Yale (112.5), and Pittsburgh (82), in order. No. 5 NC State leads on the men’s side with 342 points. The host No. 14 Buckeyes trail with 232.5 points and followed in order by No. 17 Notre Dame (220.5), Kentucky (128) and Yale (103).
Day 2 of the three-day meet begins with 10 a.m. preliminaries Saturday. Finals are set to start at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 18
Prelims: 10 a.m. | Finals: 6 p.m.
200 Medley Relay*
800 Free Relay*
1 meter Diving**
3 meter Diving**
Sunday, Nov. 19
Prelims: 10 a.m. | Finals: 4 p.m.
400 Free Relay*
* Timed finals event swum at Finals only
** Diving Prelims and Finals will begin 15 minutes after the start of Swimming events
*** 1650 start time is TBD, slowest to fastest (Fastest heat swum at finals)