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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (July 8, 2005) - The Penn State men's and women's swimming and diving teams will face tough schedules when they open the 2005-06 season, beginning with a home meet Oct. 13 at McCoy Natatorium.
The season-opening competition versus West Virginia begins the dual meet season, which will finish with the women's NCAA Championships Mar. 16-18, 2006, in Athens, Ga., and the men's NCAA Championships one week later in Atlanta, Ga.
The Nittany Lion women will be looking to defend their second Big Ten title in four years at this year's conference championships, which will be held Feb. 15-18 in Columbus, Ohio. They finished 13th at the NCAA Championships and hope to make a push into the Top 10 this season.
"Our goals are to compete for a Big Ten Championship and move into the Top 8 at NCAAs," said Penn State head coach Bill Dorenkott. "I believe that we have the people to accomplish it, and I look forward to one heck of a season."
The women, who finished 14th in the 2005 final CSCAA dual meet poll, will have to do most of their work on the road as there are only three home meets scheduled. Other than West Virginia, Penn State will host West Chester (Nov. 22) and St. Bonaventure (Jan. 14).
The Penn State women will compete against six teams that finished in the Top 12 at last year's NCAA Championships. Second-place and defending SEC champion Auburn (Nov. 11-12), third-place Arizona (Oct. 28), fourth-place Florida (Jan. 7), ninth-place Indiana (Jan. 27-28), 11th-place Wisconsin (Oct. 28) and 12th place Arizona State (Oct. 29) are all on the schedule. Twenty-sixth place Virginia (Nov. 11-12), 29th Rutgers (Jan. 21) and 32nd Ohio State (Jan. 27-28) are also on the 2005-06 slate.
"We want to be at our best when the lights are the brightest in February and March," Dorenkott said. "This schedule will serve as a terrific benchmark for success."
The Penn State men finished eighth at the Big Ten Championships, and 29th at the NCAA Championships last season. But a strong returning class, and a large incoming class of 18 have the Nittany Lions poised to move up in the conference when the Big Ten Championships are held Feb. 23-25 in Bloomington, Ind.
"In the past 20 years, only three teams have won a Big Ten Championship with Penn State, Michigan and Minnesota earning the honors," Dorenkott said. "Our goal this year is to begin our climb back to the top of the Big Ten by finishing Top 5 in the conference, and Top 20 at NCAAs."
The Nittany Lions face home dual meets against West Virginia (Oct. 13), LaSalle (Nov. 4), West Chester (Nov. 22) and St. Bonaventure (Jan. 14).
Away from McCoy Natatorium, Penn State will face a schedule that features defending SEC and NCAA Champion Auburn (Nov. 11-12) and defending ACC Champion Virginia (Nov. 11-12).
Among teams that finished at the NCAA Championships, fifth-place Florida (Jan. 7), 20th-place Purdue (Nov. 11-12), 22nd-place Ohio State (Feb. 4) and 27th-place Louisville (Jan. 27-28) are all on this year's schedule.
"We have a large incoming class, and we felt it was important to add to the number of contests we typically have on our schedule to give our student-athletes ample racing opportunities," Dorenkott added. "With the quality of the opponents we will face, you can bet that we will be prepared come February and March.
"Our staff is enthused with this dual meet schedule and feel confident that it will serve as a good lead into the Big Ten Championships and the NCAAs."
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