Penn State Finishes 4th on Final Day of Big Ten Championships
Feb. 19, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Six members of the Penn State women's swimming & diving team earned All-Big Ten honors and Chelsea Weedman was named the conference's Freshman of the Year as the Nittany Lions wrapped up the last day of the title meet with one final outstanding effort as they broke two school records and matched another on the way to a fourth-place showing at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
Penn State finished the final day of the meet with 391 points, placing them fourth in the accomplished field. Indiana won the championship in its home pool after accumulating 821 points, while Minnesota (578) and Ohio State (456) rounded out the top-three.
Mackenzie Powers was selected to the first-team All-Conference squad for her performance during the meet. Alexandra Young, Samantha Palser, Katie Pulos, Erin Thomas, and Paige Whitmire earned second-team nods as well.
Weedman was singled out for her efforts during the meet as she was named the league's top freshman. During the four-day competition, she accumulated 42 points and topped the NCAA 'B' standard in three individual events while also helping the 800-freestyle relay team place sixth on the first day of the meet.
Fittingly, Weedman and Young provided the highlights on the final day of the competition as they both placed in the top-three during the 200-butterfly. Young just out-touched her teammate as she placed second with a time of 1:57.19, while Weedman clocked in next at 1:57.55. Both times rank in the top-five in program history.
Sophomore standout Amy Modglin also stood proudly on the podium as she cruised to a third-place showing in the 200-backstroke after touching the wall in 1:54.19. During the preliminaries, she also matched her school-record pace set last season after completing the course in a blistering time of 1:54.02. Monika Mialka and Hailey Campbell also looked strong in the event, finishing in 15th and 16th while also topping the provisional qualifying time for the NCAA meet.
Palser pieced together an outstanding performance in the 100-freestyle as she won the consolation final and finished ninth overall with a school-record time of 49.03. Whitmire was close behind in 11th place, while Thomas rounded out a strong showing by the Nittany Lions as she finished 15th overall.
During the final event of the meet, Palser returned to help the squad break one more record. In the 400-freestyle relay, she swam the lead leg and teamed with Pulos, Thomas, and Whitmire to hold off the hard-charging Purdue Boilermakers and place fourth in the event. The foursome's time of 3:17.44 easily topped the previous program record of 3:18.40 set in 2009.
In other events, Diana Greco placed 10th in the 1,650-freestyle with a time of 16:29.32, which eclipsed the NCAA 'B' standard. Claire Singley also finished 19th in that event after clocking in at 16:47.29.
Rachel Butler led the way in the 200-breaststroke as she posted Penn State's top time after placing 14th in 2:15.25. Merritt Krawczyk was alongside her teammate the entire way as she finished 15th in 2:17.24.
Overall, Penn State set eight new school records and finished in the top-four nine times during the four-day competition. The squad also had at least one competitor reach the NCAA 'B' standard in each of the 18 swimming events during the championship meet.
With the fourth-place finish, the Nittany Lions jumped three spots from last year's seventh-place showing, which marked the largest improvement in the Big Ten. The future looks even brighter with all eight record-breaking performances during the meet coming from competitors who will be returning next season.
Penn State still has some work to do this year, however, as the squad will compete in the Last Chance Meet at Ohio State next Saturday at 10 a.m. before heading to the NCAA Championships from March 17-19 in Austin, Texas.