Seven Lions Earn All-America Honors at Day Two of NCAAs
March 22, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 22, 2014 - Alyson Ackman (Montreal, Quebec) turned in a career performance on day two of the 2014 NCAA Championships as she posted a Big Ten record time in the 200 freestyle and became the first Penn State swimmer to garner first team All-America status since 2008. The Nittany Lions also had six athletes earn honorable mention All-America accolades on Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
“We came out this morning and really performed well,” said Penn State women’s swimming and diving head coach Tim Murphy. “Everyone contributed and we were able to build some momentum and score some points. I am very proud of the ladies; going against the best talent in the nation and scoring is not an easy thing to do so it was a very exciting day.”
Ackman earned first team All-America status after swimming to a fifth place finish in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:43.81. The sophomore shattered her own school record (1:44.01) and broke the Big Ten record (Brittany Strumbel - IND, 1:43.93) in the prelims of the event, clocking in at a blistering 1:43.59. Ackman was also a member of the honorable mention All-America 200 medley relay and 800 free relay teams that placed 16th and 14th, respectively.
Senior Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.) received honorable mention All-America laurels for the first time in her career and broke the program record in the 400 IM in the process. The Franklin, Mass. product bolted through the lanes in 4:06.85 to crush the previous program record of 4:08.10 (Kaitlin O’Brien, 2009) and claim 11th place in the event. Shishkoff added a second honorable mention All-America honor to her resume as the anchor of the 800 free relay squad.
Already a three-time recipient of honorable mention All-America honors as relay team member, Mackenzie Powers (Sycamore, Ill.) claimed her first individual laurels after turning in a mark of 52.01 in the 100 butterfly for 12th place. The senior also added to her relay honorable mention accolades as the leadoff swimmer for the 200 medley relay on Friday. Powers competed in the 100 backstroke as well, touching the wall in 52.81 and finishing 23rd.
Ackman and Powers were joined by Haley Sinatro (West Hartford, Conn.) and Carolyn Fittin (Sea Girt, N.J.) in the 200 medley relay. The quartet reached the finals with a preliminary mark of 1:37.91 before placing 16th in the finals in 1:38.17.It is the third honorable mention All-America accolade for Fittin and the first for Sinatro.
The 800 free relay squad of Ackman, Caitlyn Karr (Reading, Pa.), Katelyn Sowinski (Severna Park, Md.) and Shishkoff capped the day with another top-16 effort. The team posted a time of 7:07.12 to place 14th in the event and secure honorable mention All-America honors. The national plaudit is the first of its kind for both Karr and Sowinski.
Chelsea Weedman (Poway, Calif.), Katie Rowe (Glenville, N.Y.) and Melissa Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico) also competed for the Blue and White on Friday. Weedman finished 42nd in the 400 IM with a time of 4:14.81, Rowe touched the wall in 53.53 in the 100 butterfly for 39th in the prelims and Rodriguez placed 29th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.75.
Penn State is currently tied with Louisville for 16th place in the team standings with 33 points. The Lions trail North Carolina State (15th, 36 points) and are just ahead of North Carolina (18th, 30 points).
“We went out and swam tough today,” said Murphy. “As a team, I told them that they have a lot to be proud of tonight. The meet is not going to get any easier so we just have to get a good night’s sleep and be ready to scrap tomorrow.”