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Feb. 28, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- When the Penn State men's swimming & diving team returned home from Iowa City, the Nittany Lions brought home the Big Ten Freshman of the Year (Nate Savoy of Reading, Pa.) and five new school records with them from Big Ten Championships. Savoy became Penn State's first Big Ten Freshman of the Year award recipient. Five Lions were named to All-Big Ten Second Team and Penn State etched 25 new Top 10 times in school history to the record books.
Penn State finished sixth at Big Tens, but that didn't tell the whole story of the highly-competitive Nittany Lions. Entering Saturday's finals, Penn State sat in fifth place just ahead of Big Ten power Minnesota. By the end of the four-day Championships, five school records fell as Savoy was joined by Shane Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.), Brian Alden (Lansdale, Pa.), Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.) and Mitch Scherer (Pottstown, Pa.) on the All-Big Ten team.
The five school records included both medley relays with the five all-conference honorees. Savoy, Scherer, Grier and Alden combined for a 1:25.61 swim in the 200 edition before Austin anchored the 400 medley squad to a 3:09.09. Both relays finished second.
Savoy was included in another second-place finish, this time in the 200 backstroke, swimming the second fastest time ever (1:42.56) in PSU history behind NCAA champion Patrick Schirk (1:40.22).
Grier highlighted his championships with a 100 butterfly swim that set a new school record, 46.83, surpassing Eugene Botes's 10-year record of 47.01.
Another record-setting performance was Nick Ankosko's (East Brunswick, N.J.) fantastic mile swim. He broke the Penn State mile record (15:02.32), which stood for five years (Chris Sullivan, 15:11.58, 2007), as well as the 1,000 freestyle record (9:04.51), passing Sullivan's 9:12.07 (2007).
Under the direction of head coach and former Olympic gold medalist John Hargis, the Nittany Lions have improved the past three years. Penn State's 2012 squad scored the most points (332) since coach Peter Brown led the Lions to third place with 442.5, three years removed from the 1999 Big Ten team title. Penn State registered 219 points in 2010 and 250.5 points in 2011 before this season's 332 total.
Now the Nittany Lions await the selection bids for the NCAA Championships. Last season, the 200 medley relay earned All-America honors, finishing ninth.