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Dec. 6, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Moving back up in the national polls, the Penn State men's swimming and diving team has been ranked No. 20, along with Notre Dame, by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The Nittany Lions (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten), previously ranked 17th and 23rd, ended the 2012 portion of the season with a fifth-place showing at the Georgia Fall Invitational, as well as 15 NCAA "B" cut performances.
After opening the year with victories over West Virginia and Villanova, the Lions were tested with a tri-meet against No. 10 Indiana and No. 15 Virginia. Penn State battled to nearly overtake the Hoosiers and the Cavaliers, falling just short with scores of 178.5-174.5 and 198-155, respectively. The squad then had a stellar weekend in Athens, Georgia, taking fifth among teams such as No. 2 California, No. 9 Auburn and No. 12 Georgia.
Spearheading the Lions' efforts so far this season, junior Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.) has notched four NCAA "B" cuts in the 400 medley relay (3:12.17), 200 medley relay (1:27.30), 100 back (46.38) and the 100 fly (46.79). Grier broke two Penn State records at the Georgia Invitational, including his own record of 46.83 seconds in the 100 fly. Achieving a "B" cut for the second time this season in the 100 back, the junior had previously recorded a time of 48.00 seconds to break a 13-year old McCoy Natatorium record on Nov. 10 in Happy Valley. Sitting at second in the nation in the 100 back and sixth in the 100 fly, the CSCAA has described Grier as "one of the better swimmers in the NCAA."
Producing five "B" cut performances during the Georgia Invitational, freshman Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.) continues to impress in his rookie season. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week aided the Lions in the 200 and 400 medley relays, swimming the freestyle leg on both of the NCAA qualifying teams. Ryan exceeded the national standards in the 50 free (20.15), 100 free (43.90) and the 100 back (47.07), as well as swam the final leg of the 400 medley relay in 43.52 seconds and the final leg of the 200 medley relay in 19.43 seconds. After his first collegiate appearance in the 100 back, the freshman currently rests at 13th in the country.
Sophomore Nate Savoy (Reading) and junior James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.) make up the rest of the dominating 200 medley and 400 medley relay squads, with Savoy swimming the backstroke leg and Wilson swimming the breaststroke leg. Joining Grier and Ryan in the 100 back, Savoy swam to a "B" cut with a time of 47.36 seconds at the Georgia Invitational, followed by another in the 200 back with a time of 1:43.83. Wilson recorded a "B" cut in Athens, as well, swimming a time of 55.23 seconds in the 100 breast.
Rounding out the NCAA qualifying performances, junior Matt Salig (Downingtown, Pa.) swam to a "B" cut in the 200 fly with a time of 1:47.63, while sophomore Nick Ankosko (East Brunswick, N.J.) recorded two in the 500 free (4:22.28) and the 1,650 free (15:14.80). On the diving side, sophomore T.J. Schenkel (Richboro, Pa.) qualified for the NCAA Zone A Meet on the one-meter board, recording a score of 301.5 against Villanova. Schenkel went on to record a qualifying score of 332.92 on the three-meter board against the Wildcats, as well.
The Lions return to action in 2013 after a month-long break of winter training. The divers will compete on Jan. 3-5 in the Tennessee Collegiate Diving Invite, while the swimmers will take on North Carolina in Naples, Fla. on Thursday, Jan. 3 in a dual meet.
Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates during the 2012-13 season. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/PennStateSWIM and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pennstateswimminganddiving.