PSU Swimmers Shine at Day Three of Big Ten Championships
Feb. 22, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.; Feb. 22, 2014 - It was a banner day for the No. 23 Penn State women’s swimming and diving team as the Nittany Lions posted two gold medal performances and four school records in the third day of competition at the Big Ten Championships on Friday. Senior Mackenzie Powers (Sycamore, Ill.) and sophomore Alyson Ackman (Montreal, Quebec) claimed individual Big Ten titles in the 100 fly and 200 free, respectively, and set program records in the process.
Powers plowed past the competition in the 100 fly, turning in a Big Ten record, school record and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 51.56 to outswim the second place swimmer by nearly .2 second. Already the school record holder in the event, Powers’ new mark crushed her previous top mark of 52.06 from earlier this season. The senior also earned a spot on the podium in the 100 back, placing second and notching yet another school record with a time of 52.19.
Ackman repeated as the Big Ten Champion in the 200 free and bested her winning performance from a season ago, replacing her own school record time of 1:44.83 with an impressive mark of 1:44.11.
Ackman and Powers teamed up with Melissa Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico) and Carolyn Fittin (Sea Girt, N.J.) to earn the runner-up spot and register the fourth program-best time of the evening in the 400 medley relay. The quartet finished almost a full second ahead of the third place team, clocking in at 3:33.27, and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships next month. The new mark edged the previous school record of 3:33.50 set by Paige Whitmire, Merritt Krawczyk, Powers and Sam Palser in 2012.
Rodriguez followed up with a career-best effort in the 100 breaststroke. The sophomore touched the wall in a personal-best 1:00.25, meeting the NCAA provisional standard and placing fourth.
Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.) also notched a top-five finish for the Nittany Lions. The senior’s time of 4:09.52 was good for fourth place and met the NCAA “B” standard as well.
Katie Rowe (Glenville, N.Y.), Casey Fazio (Washington Township, N.J.) and Caitlyn Karr (Reading, Pa.) each posted top-10 marks for PSU. Rowe swam to a sixth place finish in the 100 fly, turning in a career-best time of 53.09, while Fazio placed ninth in the 100 back in a personal-best 54.06 and Karr placed 10th in the 200 free in a career-best 1:47.39. All three swimmers hit the NCAA “B” mark in their respective events.
The Nittany Lions remain in third place in the team standings with 314 points. They trail No. 12 Minnesota (526 points) and No. 13 Indiana (397 points) heading in to the last day of the Championships.
Penn State returns to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center for the fourth and final day of competition on Saturday. Prelims are set for an 11 a.m. start with the 200 backstroke and finals are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.