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Jan. 2, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After taking the last month off for training, the Nittany Lions will compete at two different sites during the opening week of 2013. The swimmers will conclude their training trip with a dual meet versus North Carolina in Naples, Fla. on Thursday, Jan. 3 at noon, while the divers will travel to Knoxville, Tenn. to compete in the Tennessee Collegiate Diving Invitational from Jan. 3-5.
Freshman Alyson Ackman (Montreal, Ontario) will look to continue her standout rookie campaign versus the Tar Heels after setting career-best times in four events at the Georgia Fall Invitational in early December. Ackman took part in all five relay swims for the Nittany Lions and claimed NCAA B Cut times in three of her four individual swims. She placed fourth in the 100 free (49.06), seventh in the 200 free (1:46.15) and seventh in the 500 free (4:44.40), posting NCAA B Cut times and clocked the team's fastest time of the year in each event. She also finished 16th in the 50 free with her season-best time of 23.15, which is third on the team.
The great start to the season for Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.) continued at the Georgia Fall Invitational with four personal-best swims in four tries. The junior touched in 4:09.92 to push her name towards the top of the career charts in the 400 IM, sitting in the No. 2 spot on the all-time charts and her time of 16:28.40 moved her into eighth in the Penn State career record books in the 1650 freestyle. Her mark of 1:58.85 in the 200 butterfly and 1:59.92 in the 200 IM also move her into the top-ten in PSU history. All four of her swims produced NCAA B Cut times.
Merritt Krawczyk (Kingwood, Texas) and Chelsea Weedman (Poway, Calif.) each posted NCAA B Cut times in the same four events. Krawczyk set career-bests in the 400 IM with a time of 4:13.76 and in the 200 butterfly at 1:58.17. She also swam 1:58.61 in the 200 IM and 1:01.42 in the 100 breaststroke at the Georgia Fall Invitational. Weedman came away with one career-best time with a showing of 1:02.37 in the 100 breaststroke. The junior also touched the wall in 1:59.21 in the 200 IM, 4:12.92 in the 400 IM and 1:58.44 in the 200 butterfly.
All five of the relay teams posted season-best times at the Georgia Fall Invitational, including the freestyle relay team that set the school record and posted a NCAA B Cut time. Ackman, Kaitlin Jones (Midlothian, Va.), Caitlyn Karr (Reading, Pa.) and Shishkoff swam 7:08.26 in the event to better the school standard by nearly three seconds. The 200 freestyle relay team of Carolyn Fittin (Sea Grit, N.J.), Paige Whitmire (Lederach, Pa.), Ackman and Katelyn Miller (Hershey, Pa.) swam an NCAA B Cut time of 1:31.00, while Ackman, Fittin, Jones and Whitmire teamed to boast a time of 3:17.83 in the 400 freestyle relay to claim a NCAA C Cut mark.
Megan Springsteen (Owego, N.Y.) and Emily Stotesbury (Greenwich, Conn.) were the last two divers to compete for the Blue and White, taking to the boards at the Georgia Fall Invitational, and are prepared for the Tennessee Collegiate Diving Invitational. Springsteen currently tops the team charts on both the one- and three-meter boards, while Stotesbury ranks second on the squad on both boards. Both divers have posted their top scores of the season against Villanova in a dual meet on Nov. 10. Springsteen compiled totals of 268.42 on the one-meter and 264.00 on the three-meter, while Stotesbury boasted scores of 251.32 on the one-meter and 241.72 at the three-meter height.
Sitting at No. 20 in the national CSCAA poll, then men's squad is coming off of an impressive showing at the Georgia Fall Invitational. The Nittany Lions (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten), who share the No. 20 spot with Notre Dame, placed fifth at the UGA Invitational and rounded out 2012 with 15 NCAA "B" cut performances.
Junior Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.) continues to lead the Lions, boasting six "B" cut qualifying performances so far this season. Swimming the butterfly stroke at UGA, Grier helped lead his teams to NCAA qualifying times in the 400 medley relay (3:12.17) and the 200 medley relay (1:27.30). The junior also went on to break two Penn State school records in the 100 back (46.38) and the 100 fly (46.79), which topped his own previous record of 46.83 seconds. Achieving a "B" cut for the second time this season in the 100 back, Grier had previously recorded a time of 48.00 seconds to break a 13-year old McCoy Natatorium record on Nov. 10 in Happy Valley against Villanova. He currently sits at second in the nation in the 100 back and sixth in the 100 fly.
Establishing an impressive rookie season, freshman Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.) has emerged as one of the most consistent performers for Penn State. Ryan produced seven "B" cut times at the Georgia Invitational alone, and has placed in the top-five of every individual competition this season. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week aided the Lions in the 200 and 400 medley relays, swimming the freestyle leg on both of the NCAA qualifying teams, and has exceeded national standards with personal best times in the 50 free (20.15), 100 free (43.90) and the 100 back (47.07). Additionally, Ryan swam the final leg of the 400 medley relay in 43.52 seconds and the final leg of the 200 medley relay in 19.43 seconds. The rookie currently sits at 13th in the country after his first collegiate appearance in the 100 back.
Completing the 200 medley and 400 medley relay squads, sophomore Nate Savoy (Reading) has led the team with the backstroke leg, while junior James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.) swims the breaststroke leg. Savoy swam to a "B" cut in the 100 back at the UGA Invitational with a time of 47.36 seconds, followed by another in the 200 back with a time of 1:43.83. Wilson notched his first NCAA qualifying time of the season in Athens, as well, swimming a time of 55.23 seconds in the 100 breast.
Rounding out the NCAA qualifying performances, junior Matt Salig (Downingtown, Pa.) swam to a "B" cut in the 200 fly with a time of 1:47.63, while sophomore Nick Ankosko (East Brunswick, N.J.) recorded two in the 500 free (4:22.28) and the 1,650 free (15:14.80). On the diving side, sophomore T.J. Schenkel (Richboro, Pa.) qualified for the NCAA Zone A Meet on the one-meter board, recording a score of 301.5 against Villanova. Schenkel went on to record a qualifying score of 332.92 on the three-meter board against the Wildcats, as well.
The Tar Heels have had a successful opening to their season, with the No. 22 men currently resting at 3-0 (1-0 ACC) and the No. 16 women sitting at 2-1 (1-0 ACC). North Carolina has taken on tough opponents including South Carolina, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech, and has finished in the top-three of the Dallas Classic, Nike Cup and the Ohio State Invitational. Penn State's divers will also compete against North Carolina at the Tennessee Collegiate Diving Invitational, along with Southern Methodist University, James Madison, Louisiana State University, Clemson, University of Missouri, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky, Duke and South Dakota State.
Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates during the 2012-13 season. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/PennStateSWIM and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pennstateswimminganddiving.