Penn State Swimmers Shine at U.S. Open
Aug. 12, 2009
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Eight Penn State swimmers participated in the U.S. Open Swimming Championships last week led by strong performances from recently graduated All-Americans Kelly Nelson and Patrick Schirk.
"The kids performed well," said head coach John Hargis. "It has been a tough summer; we had World Championship trials in early July then Pat had the World University Games. Kelly came back well and had a couple of her best times. All in all, they performed really well.
"In our sport, you have to take advantage of every opportunity to race at the highest level and I think the kids did."
Nelson swam to a fourth overall finish in the 200m butterfly with a time of 2:11.56, 3.49 seconds behind Elaine Breeden in first. She finished seventh in the "B Finals" of the 100m butterfly (1:00.77) while also placing fourth in the 200m freestyle (2:01.12) "B Finals."
"I'm truly grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to compete and still perform at a high level," Nelson said. "This past March, I wrapped up my collegiate career with three individual swims at the NCAA meet in College Station, Texas. All of my swims were personal best time and I really considered ending my swimming career on a high note. I obviously changed my mind."
On the men's side, Schirk impressed in the 100m backstroke in finishing second overall with a time of 54.76. Despite slipping at the beginning of the 200m backstroke, he bounced back to come in seventh (2:02.91).
Rising senior Dan Fimbianti participated in both the 100 and 200m backstroke, finishing sixth in the "C Finals" of the 100m backstroke (57.26). Junior Josh Wakeley placed 13th and 14th, respectively, in the 800 (8:13.39) and 1500m (15:44.63) freestyle.
Also competing for the women was senior Michelle Myers, who swam in the 50 and 100m butterfly and the 100m backstroke. Her best finish came in the 100m backstroke when after an impressive preliminary time (1:02.87), she qualified for the "B Finals" and finished eighth (1:03.79).
"I had a great experience," Nelson said. "I was surrounded by my teammates who always make meets enjoyable. It's always positive to have teammates to distract you from your swims and lighten the mood. They are there to celebrate with you after a great swim and there to pick you up when there is a disappointing one."
Check back to GoPSUsports.com for continued updates as the Nittany Lions look ahead to the 2009-10 season.
Results Women Michelle Myers 100m backstroke 1:03.79 (Eighth, "B") 1:02.87 (Preliminary) 50m butterfly 26.95 (Preliminary) 100m butterfly 1:02.97 (Preliminary)