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Dec. 7, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; December 7, 2012 -- After spending the last two weeks receiving votes in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, the Penn State women's swimming and diving program has entered the rankings at No. 11 for the week starting Dec. 3. The Nittany Lions are in the ranks for the first time since grabbing the No. 20 spot on the publications list on Jan. 25, 2012.
The Blue and White climbed into the top-25 after posting 54 individual NCAA B Cut times and a a pair of NCAA provisional times in relay events last weekend at the Georgia Fall Invitational. That showing took Penn State from receiving votes to the No. 12 spot in the polls, equaling their highest ranking since reaching the same spot in the polls early in the 2004 season.
Last weekend, Penn State claimed fifth at the prestigious Georgia Fall Invitational behind No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Cal, No. 9 Virginia and No. 10 Auburn, while finishing in front of No. 25 Harvard. Overall, the Nittany Lions own a 3-1 dual meet record with wins over Indiana, Villanova and West Virginia. Their only loss was to Virginia, in a tri meet at Indiana.
It has been a great start to the season with all five relay squads ranked among the top-20, with the 800 freestyle relay quartet of Alyson Ackman (Montreal, Quebec), Kaitlin Jones (Midlothian, Va.), Caitlyn Karr (Reding, Pa.) and Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.) setting a school record last weekend in Georgia. Their time of 7:08.26 ranks eighth nationally, while the 400 free relay (No. 12) and 200 free relay (No. 15) are each ranked among the top-15. Both medley relay squads are among the top-20, with the 400 medley relay holding down the No. 16 spot and the 200 medley relay sitting at No. 18.
Ackman has had an impressive start to her rookie campaign and is the leading freestyler on the squad, holding down the top spot on the team in the 100, 200 and 500 free style events. The rookie ranks 15th in the NCAA at the 500 freestyle distance in an NCAA B Cut time of 4:42.36, which is under one second shy of the school record, and has NCAA provisional times in the 100 free (49.06) and 200 free (1:46.15) , which rank her No. 20 and No. 22 respectively in the NCAA.
Senior Merritt Krawczyk (Kingwood, Texas), Amy Modglin (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Paige Whitmire (Lederach, Pa.) have all came off of the blocks quickly this season, each ranking among the top-25 and owning multiple NCAA B Cut times. Whitmire holds the highest individual NCAA ranking for PSU, sitting at No. 12 in the 50 free with a time of 22.43, while Modglin ranks No. 16 in the200 back (1:54.63) and Krawczyk is No. 21 in the 200 IM (1:58.90), No. 27 in the 400 IM (4:09.92) and No. 30 in the 200 fly (1:58.17).
Shishkoff has been a force in multiple events this season, swimming well in the distance freestyle events, as well as the individual medleys and the 200 butterfly. She owns NCAA B Cut marks in five events, including team-best times in two of them. Shishkoff ranks No. 14 in the NCAA in the 400 IM (4:09.92), No. 19 in the 1000 free (9:55.72), No. 30 in the 1650 free (16:28.40), No. 35 in the 200 fly (1:58.85) and No. 36 in the 200 IM (1:589.42). Her NCAA provisional marks have come in the 200 & 400 IM, 500 and 1650 free and 200 fly.
Georgia sits atop the national poll and is followed by (in order) USC, Cal, Floirda and Texas A&M to round out the top-five. Overall, Penn State is the highest ranked of the five Big Ten teams this week, with Indiana (No. 15), Minnesota (No. 18), Ohio State (No. 19) and Michigan (No. 24) also among the top-25.
The Nittany Lions will spend the remainder of the 2012 schedule training before returning to competition on Jan. 5, 2013 with a neutral site swim versus North Carolina in Naples, Fla. The divers will compete at the Tennessee Collegiate Diving Invitational that same weekend, taking to the boards from Jan. 3-5, 2013.