Women's Swimming and Diving Qualifies A School Record 14 Swimmers for Upcoming NCAA Championships
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. (Mar. 4, 2005) - The 14th-ranked Penn State women's swimming and diving team will send a school record 14 swimmers to the 2005 NCAA Championships, which will be held Mar. 17-19 in West Lafayette, Ind.
The NCAA released its official psyche sheets for the championships on Friday, and the Nittany Lions will send the fifth most student-athletes of any school in the country. No. 1 Georgia paced the country with 18 swimmers, while defending national champion Auburn qualified 17 along with No. 3 Florida, and No. 4 Texas qualified 15.
The diving participants will be decided when the Diving Zone Championships are held Mar. 10-12. Penn State swimmers will compete in all 18 swimming events, including all five relays and six individuals in the 1,650-yard freestyle, which is thought to be the most in NCAA history. The Nittany Lions will be gunning for their previous NCAA-best of 101 points, which they achieved last season while finishing 15th.
"We picked up a few girls who were on the bubble, which is exciting," said Penn State head coach Bill Dorenkott. "Our staff is proud of the contingent we are taking to the meet. The key is to maximize our opportunities every race, and every session."
Penn State set a school record by winning the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago with 693 points. The Nittany Lions beat their nearest competitor (Indiana) by nearly 200 points. The 693 points was the highest point total at the Big Ten Championships since 1998.
The Nittany Lions will be sending three student-athletes who will compete in the NCAA Championships for the fourth time, while five swimmers will be making their first appearance at the national meet.
Seniors Deirdre Dlugonski (Washington, Pa.), Courtney Stanchock (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and Kristen Woodring (Sinking Spring, Pa.) are all going for the fourth time. Sophomore Nikki Collins (Carmel, Ind.), sophomore Claire Hawley (Barnstable, Mass.), senior Meredith Holman (Inman, S.C.), freshman Lauren Preyss (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) and senior Lauren Semchyshen (New Fairfield, Conn.) will make their first-ever appearances at the NCAA Championships.
Juniors Amberle Biedermann (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Sarah Haupt (Carlisle, Pa.) will compete at the NCAA Championships for the third time, while senior Jennifer Eberst (Clifton Park, N.Y.), and sophomores Margy Keefe (Cincinnati, Ohio), Megan Palera (Santa Maria, Calif.) and Erin Morris (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) will all compete for the second time.
"Our goal is to continue our climb at the conference, national and international level," Dorenkott said. "I like the type of young people we have in our program. I like their work ethic and attitude. Our student-athletes' rates of improvement and results speak for themselves."
Included in the NCAA psyche sheets were several Nittany Lions who are seeded high going into the NCAA Championships. Morris is seeded eighth in the 500 freestyle (4:42.17), Palera is seeded 16th in the 400 IM (4:15.35), Biedermann is 15th in the 100 butterfly (53.81), Woodring (1:01.41) and Stanchock (1:01.55) are 13th and 14th, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke, Hawley is 12th in the 1,650 freestyle (16:16.59) and Biedermann is 13th in the 200 butterfly (1:58.65).
Also, Penn State's 400 medley relay team is seeded seventh (3:38.79), and the 200 medley relay team is seeded third (1:39.06).
At last year's NCAA Championships, Penn State had several top performances. The 200- and 400- medley relay teams finished fifth and fourth, respectively. Haupt took third in the 100 backstroke, and Woodring finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke.
For more information on Penn State men's and women's swimming and diving, please visit our official athletics website at www.GoPSUsports.com.
Penn State's NCAA Qualifiers (Number of NCAA appearances in parentheses) Amberle Biedermann (3) Nikki Collins (1) Deirdre Dlugonski (4) Jennifer Eberst (2) Sarah Haupt (3) Claire Hawley (1) Meredith Holman (1) Margy Keefe (2) Megan Palera (2) Erin Morris (2) Lauren Preyss (1) Lauren Semchyshen (1) Courtney Stanchock (4) Kristen Woodring (4) Top Teams Sending NCAA Qualifiers (Number of qualified athletes) Georgia 18 Auburn 17 Florida 17 Texas 15 Penn State 14 Stanford 13 California 12 Southern Methodist 12 Arizona 11 Texas A&M 10