No. 19 Nittany Lions Set for NCAA Championships
March 19, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.; March 19, 2014 - The No. 19 Penn State women's swimming and diving program heads into its final competition of the 2013-14 campaign this weekend as it travels to Minneapolis, Minn. for the 2014 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. The Blue and White are set to compete in all five relays while eight Lions will swim in 22 events for a chance at an individual title.
The eight individuals include Mackenzie Powers (Sycamore, Ill.), Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.), Chelsea Weedman (Poway, Calif.), Megan Siverling (Chester Springs, Pa.), Alyson Ackman (Montreal, Quebec), Melissa Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico), Katie Rowe (Glennville, N.Y.) and Katelyn Sowinski (Severna Park, Md.).
Powers has qualified in three individual events. The senior's most promising event is the 100 fly as she ranks seventh heading into the meet after breaking the Big Ten record with a time of 51.56 at the conference championships last month. Powers will also compete in the 100 back and 200 back. She has the 14th best mark in the 100 back at 52.19 and ranks 49th in the 200 back at 1:56.18.
Shishkoff will race in multiple individual events as well. The Franklin, Mass. product enters the event with the 20th best time in the 400 IM at 4:09.00 and ranks 37th in the 500 free (4:42.51) and 43rd in the 200 fly (1:57.43).
Weedman is set to compete in the 400 IM, 200 IM and 200 fly for the Nittany Lions. The senior enters the meet ranked 39th in the 400 IM with a time of 4:12.63 and sits at 48th in the 200 fly (1:58.37) and 51st in the 200 IM (1:58.93).
After earning honorable mention All-America honors and setting a school record a year ago, Siverling looks to put on another strong performance in the 1650 free. The junior currently has the 30th fastest time at 16:15.88. She has also qualified in the 500 free and ranks 56th in the event with a season-best mark of 4:45.21.
The school record holder in the 100 and 200 free, Ackman aims to further improve her marks against the best competition in the nation. The sophomore ranks ninth in the 200 free after setting a program record with a time of 1:44.04 at the Big Ten Championships. She also set a record in the 100 free at the championships, clocking in at 48.01 as the lead-off swimmer in the 400 free relay for the 12th best time in the country.
Rodriguez returns to the Championships to compete in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 IM for the second year in a row. The sophomore broke her own school record in the 200 breaststroke at the conference championships, touching the wall in 2:09.54, and holds the 19th best time heading into the event. She ranks 27th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.25 and 76th in the 200 IM at 2:00.53.
Rowe will be making her first appearance at the NCAA Championships after qualifying in three events in her breakout sophomore campaign. The Glenville, N.Y. native has steadily improved her time in the 200 fly throughout the season, most recently turning in a personal-best and program third-best mark of 1:55.34 at the NCAA Last Chance meet on March 2. She is just outside of the top 10 heading into the event with the 13th fastest time. Rowe will also compete in the 100 fly and 200 IM. She ranks 42nd in the 100 fly with a mark of 53.09 and 79th in the 200 IM at 2:01.53.
Sowinski has had a stellar rookie campaign for the Blue and White and looks for it to continue as she has qualified in three events. The freshman's best event thus far has been the 200 fly. She sits at 35th in the event with a time of 1:56.57. She will also be competing in the 500 free and the 1650 free, which she ranks 40th (4:42.87) and 43rd (16:23.20) in, respectively.
PSU ranks 14th in the 400 medley relay after clocking in at 3:33.27, 15th in the 800 free relay with a time of 7:05.44, 18th in the 400 free relay at 3:16.33 and 19th in the 200 free and 200 medley relays with marks of 1:29.51 and 1:37.61, respectively.
The Championships kick off on Thursday with the 200 free relay prelims and come to a close on Saturday with the 400 free relay finals. The three-day competition will be held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.