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Jan. 16, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's and women's swimming and diving teams are set to travel to Villanova on Friday for a dual against the Wildcats. The diving portion is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Villanova Swim Complex with swimming events following at 5 p.m.
In the all-time series against Villanova, both the men's and women's teams have enjoyed much success. The women hold a record of 19-1 in the matchup and the men hold a 24-13 advantage in the series. A season ago, the women won by a final of 177-116 and the men claimed a 211-81 victory.
The Blue and White's most recent competition was an unscored training meet against North Carolina in Naples, Fla. that featured six mixed squad relays. The Nittany Lions touched the wall first in five of the six races, which included the 200 medley, 800 freestyle, 400 breaststroke, 400 backstroke and 200 freestyle events.
The women enter the weekend as the No. 17 team in the country. PSU is 1-2 in dual meets heading into the weekend's event. The Lions defeated West Virginia (152-102) in the season opener but have since suffered losses to No. 8 Texas (242-111) and No. 11 Virginia (226-127). They are led by the trio of Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.), Mackenzie Powers (Sycamore, Ill.) and Alyson Ackman (Montreal, Quebec), each of whom own several of the team's top times.
Shishkoff, a senior, has had an exceptional start to the season, registering career-bests in six different events. She holds the team's top times in the 500 free, 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM and has hit the NCAA "B" mark in all four events. Her times of 4:42.51 and 4:09.00 in the 500 Free and 400 IM rank third and fourth, respectively, in the PSU record books and her 1:58.32 mark in the 200 IM also ranks fourth.
Powers turned in a program record performance in the 100 fly at the Texas Invite, touching the wall in 52.06 to best her own record of 52.25, set in 2012. The senior also holds the squad's best times in the 100 and 200 backstrokes this season with marks of 53.49 and 1:56.89, respectively. All three of her swims made the NCAA "B" cut.
Ackman looks to continue improving after notching a personal-best and school record-tying effort in the 100 free at the Texas Invite last month. The sophomore tied former Lion Paige Whitmire's record time in the event, clocking in at 48.74. She has posted NCAA "B" qualifying times in four events, including the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and 500 free and holds the top time on the team in three of her events.
Two of the women's relay squads have hit the NCAA provisional standards thus far with the 400 freestyle relay and 800 freestyle relay turning in qualifying marks. Ackman, Carolyn Fittin (Sea Girt, N.J.), Kaitlin Jones (Midlothian, Va.) and Caitlyn Karr (Reading, Pa.) clocked in at 3:17.48 in the 400 freestyle relay while Shishkoff, Ackman, Karr and Jones earned a time of 7:10.86 in the 800 freestyle at the Texas Invite.
The Penn State men's swimming and diving program comes into the weekend's meet ranked 19th in the nation. The squad has a dual meet record of 3-1 in the season, recording wins over West Virginia (155-129), Buffalo (155-137) and Virginia (191-162) with its lone defeat coming at the hands of No. 4 Texas (185-168).
Individually, Penn State is led by the tandem of John Hauser (Pottstown, Pa.) and Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.). Hauser currently has recorded the fastest time in three individual events, including the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle races. The senior has qualified for the NCAA "B" standard in the three aforementioned events as well as the 50 freestyle. Hauser also is a member of all five of Penn State's top relay teams this season.
Ryan has been one of Penn State's most versatile swimmers this season. The sophomore has qualified for the NCAA "B" standard in the 50 freestyle, 100 and 200 backstroke and 100 butterfly events. Ryan holds the Blue and White's best time in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke races. The Havertown native is a member of four of PSU's top five relay teams.
The Penn State men have also found success in the relay events this season. The 200 medley relay team of Nate Savoy (Reading, Pa.), James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.), Ryan and Hauser have already qualified for the NCAA "B" standard with a time of 1:26.93 at the Texas Invitational in December.
After Friday's intrastate showdown with Villanova, the Nittany Lions swimming and diving teams will travel to Annapolis, Md. for a dual meet with the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday, Jan. 25. The competition is slated to begin at 11 a.m.