Nittany Lions Head South for Texas Invitational
Dec. 4, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - The Penn State men's and women's swimming teams return to the pool after a 20 day hiatus as they travel south this weekend to compete in the Texas Invitational. The Nittany Lions will match up with some of the top teams in the country in the three day meet, facing Texas, USC, Arizona, BYU, Wisconsin, Harvard, UC Santa Barbara, Oklahoma Baptist and the UCLA women's squad.
The meet is slated to begin at 11 a.m. (ET) on Thursday with the prelims of the women's 100 butterfly and will conclude on Saturday evening with the men's 400 free relay. Fans can keep up with the action by following the live results at sidearmstats/com/texas/swim or following Penn State swimming and diving on Facebook and Twitter.
The competition will mark the first time that head coach Tim Murphy has faced Harvard, where he previously coached the men's squad, since joining the Penn State staff this past August. Murphy compiled a 122-11 dual meet record during his 15 seasons at Harvard, leading the Crimson to six Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League titles.
Penn State's men's team will be competing against some of the top programs in the nation this weekend. Of the eight opponents, three are ranked in the CSCAA rankings in No. 4 Texas, No. 7 USC and No. 15 Arizona.
The men's swimming and diving squad has had an excellent start to its season, carrying a 3-1 dual meet record into the Texas Invitational. In the Nittany Lions' last meet in Charlottesville, Va., the team produced great results over the two-day competition. The Blue and White recorded a 191-162 victory over Virginia for its first win against the Cavaliers since the 1996-97 season and were narrowly defeated by Texas by a final of 185-168.
Individually, Penn State has had a number of standout performances. Shane Ryan (Havertown, Pa.) was named the CollegeSwimming.com Counsilman-Hunsaker Men's Division I Swimmer of the Week and the Big Ten Swimmer of the Week for the first time in his career after notching four first place finishes in Charlottesville. Ryan claimed individual victories in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke events and was a member of the winning 400 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.) and John Hauser (Pottstown, Pa.) have also received early season honors to begin their senior campaigns. Like Ryan, Grier was awarded the CollegeSwimming.com Counsilman-Hunsaker Men's Division I Swimmer of the Week honors after the Lions season-opening win over West Virginia. The senior was the first to finish in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly events, while reaching the NCAA "B" qualifying in both events.
Hauser garnered Big Ten Swimmer of the Week status after the home-opener vs. West Virginia. The senior has won five individual races in three separate events, with three wins in the 100 freestyle and one win apiece in the 50 and 200 freestyle events. In the 50 freestyle Hauser set the McCoy Natatorium record, while qualifying for the NCAA "B" standard with a time of 20.14.
The No. 24 women's team suffered its first two dual meet losses of the 2013-14 campaign in its last outing, falling to then-No. 8 Texas in a 242-111 decision and then-No. 11 Virginia by a count of 226-127 in Charlottesville. This weekend will be the biggest challenge yet for the Blue and White with three ranked opponents participating in the invitational. No. 9 Texas headlines the group and No. 13 Arizona and No. 19 UCLA are also competing.
Carolyn Fittin (Sea Girt, N.J.) was the top performer for PSU in the tri-meet with Texas and Virginia, earning the Lions only first place finish of the weekend. Fittin turned in the top time in the 50 freestyle, touching the wall in 23.23. The junior also posted a top-three time in the 100 butterfly, clocking at 54.92, and was a member of the second place 400 freestyle relay squad that finished in 3:21.65.
Ackman also performed well individually, claiming second place in the 200 freestyle. The sophomore posted a NCAA "B" qualifying time, touching the wall in 1:47.94.
Junior Megan Siverling (Chester Springs, Pa.) turned in the final top-three finish for the Nittany Lions, placing third in the 1000 freestyle in a career-best 9:59.85.
The Blue and White will return to action in the new year, traveling to Naples, Fla. for a dual meet with North Carolina on Saturday, Jan. 4.