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RALEIGH, N.C. – Sophomore Kaelan Freund (Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada) and freshman Jane Donahue (Charlotte, N.C.) swept the men’s and women’s breaststroke events, respectivelym to lead Penn State swimming & diving in double duals against NC State and Duke Friday evening in Casey Aquatic Center.
The Penn State men (1-2) split against Duke and No. 5 NC State (2-0), defeating the Blue Devils (0-4), 161-5-138.5, while falling to the hosts, 182-110. The Penn State women (0-3) battled No. 20 Duke (2-2), but came up short, 159-139, while No. 8 NC State (2-0) was victorious, 185.5-110.5.
“We picked up from where we were last week and had a lot of good races,” said Penn State head coach Tim Murphy. “We had some people really step up with some strong swims, good times. We had some struggle a little bit, but people were picking each other up.
“Kaelan and Jane continued their strong path, and we had some other people step up on both the women’s and men’s side, especially some underclassmen, so it was good to see.”
Freund, the reigning Big Ten Men’s Swimmer of the Week, won three individual events total, as he also won the 200 IM in 1:49.54, with no one else finishing under 1:52. Nathaniel Bledsoe (Carmel, Ind.) (1:53.47) and Hayden Harlow (Bentonville, Ark.) (1:53.67) also touched before the Duke swimmers to put that dual meet out of reach.
Freund and Donahue posted their best times in the 200 breaststroke with both achieving the B Standard for NCAA Championships qualification, as Freund won the men’s race in 1:59.37 and Donahue the women’s in 2:15.63. They also both won their respective 100 breast races, as Donahue and classmate Carly Hart (Canton, Ohio) teamed up to place first (1:03.32) and third (1:03.81), while Freund took the men’s race in 54.55 seconds. Donahue, the reigning Big Ten Women’s Swimming & Diving Freshman of the Week, also bested Duke in the 200 IM (2:03.77).
Junior diver Hector Garcia Boissier (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain) was also an event winner on the men’s side, claiming the 1-meter board with a score of 360.10. For the women, sophomore Maddie Hart (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) enjoyed a successful evening in multiple events, highlighted by a win in the 100 butterfly (55.21). She also placed fourth in the 100 backstroke (55.76) and 200 backstroke (2:00.32).
Additionally, multiple Nittany Lions beat Duke to the wall to claim event wins against them on the men’s side. Freshman Nathan Schiffman bested Duke the 500 free (4:29.70) placing runner-up overall, as did freshman Eben Krigger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) in fifth (4:33.90) in a key race later in the meet. Schiffmann (9:26.43) and junior captain Robbie Dickson (Greenwich, N.J.) (9:27.05) also beat out Duke in the 1000 freestyle, and senior Ryan O’Neill (Howell, N.J.) (1:40.18) and Krigger (1:40.47) bested the Blue Devils in the 200 free. Other freshmen contributors to the Duke win with gold medals included Jacob Deckman (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) in the 200 butterfly (1:51.86) and Gabe Castano (Allentown, Pa.) in the 100 free (45.98).
In addition to Donahue’s wins against Duke, senior Tommie Dillione (Newtown, Pa.) (1:49.38) and freshman Camryn Barry (Westlake Village, Calif.) (1:50.09) placed second and third overall, respectively, in the 200 free, and Barry also bested Duke in the 500 free, placing second overall in 4:54.95.
“NC State is a powerhouse and we had some good races with them, but they had a bit too much for us,” said Murphy. “It gives a marker though in terms of where we are now and the things we are going to face come the end of the season.”
Penn State will next return to the pool at Minnesota, also facing Michigan and Wisconsin, in a two-day meet set for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3-4.
Check GoPSUSports.com for coverage of the Penn State swimming and diving teams during the season. Follow the team on Twitter at @PennStateSWIM and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/pennstateswimminganddiving.