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March 26, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 26, 2014 - The No. 13 Penn State men’s swimming and diving team travels to Austin, Texas this week for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. The three day competition starts on Thursday at noon with the preliminary rounds to five events with the finals to start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday will follow the same format with prelims at noon and finals at 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday’s finals will be streamed live by ESPN3. Additionally, ESPNU will air tape-delayed coverage at 8 p.m. ET on April 9. Live results for the championships will be available on NCAA.com.
The Nittany Lions are looking to improve on their 20th place finish from the 2013 Championships, as the team racked up 52 points. Last season Penn State sent both the 200 and 400 medley relay teams to the “A” finals, picking up sixth and eighth place finishes respectively. Nate Savoy (Reading, Pa.) scored points individual events, posting 14th and 16th finishes in the 100 and 200 backstroke races.
Seven members of the Blue and White will be competing at the 2014 NCAA Championships, including Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.), Savoy, Nick Ankosko (East Brunswick, N.J.) John Hauser (Pottstown, Pa.), Shane Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.), James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.) and Andrew Schuehler (Camden, N.J).
Ryan headlines the group, as the sophomore is set to compete in three individual events (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke) and four relays (200 and 400 freestyle and 200 and 400 medley). Ryan enters with the number one time in the country in the 100 backstroke with a mark of 45.13, which he recorded in a first place finish at the Big Ten Championships. The sophomore has posted the fourth fastest time in the nation in the 100 freestyle, touching the wall in 42.08 and has the 16th best time in the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.36.
Another Nittany Lion swimmer who will be having a busy three days is Savoy. The junior will compete in three individual competitions (200 IM, 100 and 200 backstroke) and at least three relays (200 and 400 freestyle and 200 medley). Savoy joins Ryan as a top-eight competitor in the 100 backstroke, entering with a time of 45.61 for the sixth fastest time in 2014. The junior comes into the championships 15th in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:41.23. In the 200 IM, Savoy has a time of 1:45.52, placing him in the top 50 in the country for the event.
The third swimmer to compete in the individual portion of the three-day competition is Nick Ankosko, who is slated to swim in three events (200, 500 and 1,650 freestyle). The junior’s ranked in the top 50 in the 500 and 1,650 races. Ankosko is 27th in the 500 with a time of 4:17.65 and is 46th in the 1,650, touching the wall in 15:10.97.
Hauser, Austin, Wilson and Schuehler will play a pivotal role in the relays in Austin. The Nittany Lions will be competing in four of the five relay events, which included the 200 and 400 freestyle and the 200 and 400 medley relays. The Blue and White has a top-10 time in the 400 freestyle relay, placing second at the Big Tens with a mark of 1:24.89. The team is comprised of Ryan, Hauser, Savoy and Austin.
The other three relays competing each enter the NCAAs with top-20 times in the country. The 200 freestyle relay team consisting of Ryan, Hauser, Savoy and Austin turned in Penn State’s top time of the season at the Big Ten Championships with a mark of 2:51.32 for the 14th best mark in the country this season. The 200 medley relay team of Savoy, Wilson, Ryan and Austin hold the Blue and White’s best mark in the event with a time of 1:24.89, good enough for the 11th fastest qualifying mark. The 400 medley relay sits in 16th place in the country entering the championships with a time of 3:08.01.
Penn State’s best overall finish came in 2002, when the team placed 15th with 54 points. The most points the team has ever totaled at the NCAAs was 72.5 in 2001 on the way to a 16th finish. The Nittany Lions have had one individual claim a national title, as Patrick Schirk won the 200 backstroke event in 2008 with a time of 1:44.08.