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p>TAIPEI – Penn State men’s swimming alum Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.) set another Irish record in the 50-meter backstroke to earn gold Wednesday at the World University Games in the Taiwan University Sport Arena. Current Penn State women’s swimmer Ally McHugh (Philadelphia, Pa.) also added another silver to her collection, helping the U.S. team qualify for the finals of the 800-meter relay.
Ryan lowered the Irish standard he set in the 50m back semifinals to 24.72 seconds to edge NC State and Team USA swimmer Justin Ress by just one-hundredth of a second. It was best finish by a Penn State swimmer at the World University Games since Pat Schirk earned silver in the 200m backstroke in 2009.
Ryan will also compete in the men’s 400m medley relay, with preliminary heats starting at 9 p.m. ET Friday, Aug. 25. The final will be at 8:30 a.m. ET, Saturday, Aug, 26.
McHugh swam in the preliminary round of the 4x200m relay for the United States, giving the U.S. the leading seed time heading into the finals. However, Russia edged Team USA by four-hundredths of a second in the finals to take gold.
Ryan’s performance followed a fourth-place finish Monday in the 100m backstroke in 54.35 seconds, his best time of the year but 0.18 seconds shy of bronze. Ress took gold in 53.29. Sunday, Ryan led Ireland to a national record in the 400m freestyle relay, as the team finished seventh in 3:19.39.
Also this past Sunday, McHugh earned a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley to lead Team USA. McHugh touched the wall second in a personal-best 4:40.22, shaving another three-hundredths of a second off her world trials time. McHugh was fourth approaching the final, turn, but swam the fastest final 50-meters (30.59 seconds) to gain more than a second and two seconds, respectively, on the third and fourth place finishers. However, it was not enough to catch Japan’s Yui Ohashi. Ohashi, who won silver in the 200 IM at the 2017 World Swimming Championships in June, set a Universiade record of 4:34.40. South Korea’s Seoyeong Kim took bronze in 4:41.52, while Sarah Darcel (Canada - California) was fourth in 4:42.07 and Brooke Forde (USA -Stanford), was fifth in 4:44.04.
McHugh becomes the second Penn State women’s swimmer to medal at the World University Games and the first since Kristen Elias earned silver in the 100m butterfly at the 1989 games in Bulgaria.
McHugh earned her place on the U.S. team with a fourth-place finish in the 400m IM at the U.S. Phillips 66 Nationals in June. Ryan was a semifinalist in the 100m back for Ireland at both the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the FINA World Championships last month.
The World University Games are organized every two years by the International University Sports Federation. The 22-sport event will feature approximately 7,000 participants ages 17-23 who are current college students or recent graduates. Taipei is located 12 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.
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