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Oct. 15, 2010
Penn State travels to West Virginia for its opening meet of the season. The divers compete at 2:00 p.m. on Friday and the swimmers begin at Noon on Saturday.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's swimming & diving team strives to be a part of the upper echelon of Big Ten programs, building with a talented young corps and savvy veterans.
As the Nittany Lions open their 2010-11 season at West Virginia on Friday with the diving competition (swimmers begin on Saturday at Noon), head coach John Hargis sees the program ready to take it to the next level.
"We're very excited right now," Hargis said. "We've got a good group of young people who are anxious to get their college careers going."
Joining Austin in the senior class are long-distance athletes Jack Zierenberg (Allison Park, Pa.) and James Capparell (Bridgewater, N.J.), while Josh Wakeley adds another set of talents being able to swim the free, butterfly and IM events.
Returning to the fold after his second consecutive NCAA Championships appearance is freestyle standout Brian Alden (Lansdale, Pa.). The junior looks to produce another record-breaking year after his 1:35.49 showing at Big Tens last year in the 200 free set the new PSU record. He was also a member of the record-breaking 800-yard freestyle relay that set a new record of 6:28.11 last season.
Along with Alden and Marino, the junior class includes standout breastrokers Mitch Scherer (Pottstown, Pa.) and Brent Sanderson. Scherer currently holds the PSU record in the 100 breast with a time of 54.12 from the 2009 Big Ten Championships.
"Brian continues to impress on a daily basis," Hargis noted. "I think Mitch Scherer is on track to do, again, some pretty neat things. He's been a finalist now two years [in a row] at Big Tens and I think he's on the verge of doing some pretty special things. Beyond [them], Graham Risley (Riverside, Ill.), who was our leadout backstroker last year, is going to have a great year and we're pretty excited about him."
Risley was among a talented group of youngsters last year, which included Luke Bushman (Green Bay, Wis.), Greg Daniele (Middletown, N.J.), Jeff Gomez (Morristown, N.J.) and Ben Hengels (Glenview, Ill.), who immediately contributed to the squad's successes.
Among the freshmen expected to contribute immediately are Shane Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.), a sprint specialist, and James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.), who plies his trade in the breaststroke and IM events. Also adding important talent in specific areas are Andrew Sideras (Philadelphia, Pa.) who specializes in the spring free and butterfly events, while Matt Salig (Downingtown, Pa.) is a fly and IM swimmer.
Rounding out the freshmen are Dustin Folio (Selinsgrove, Pa.), who returns from a redshirt freshman year, as well as Chris Cipolla (South River, N.J.), Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.), Thomas Mershon (Malvern, Pa.), John Silvers (Bradenton, Fla.) and Rob Iosue (Lancaster, Pa.).
As for the divers, sophomore Alex Marchinski (Shillington, Pa.) is joined by PIAA state champion Jordan Harris (Philipsburg, Pa.) and the young duo is expected to give the Nittany Lions a lift in the diving well this season.