UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania, November 10. THE Penn State women's swimming and diving team completed its weekend quad meet on Saturday by swimming to three more new NCAA `B' provisional qualifying times as well as one `A' automatic qualifying time en route to winning all three of their dual meets by wide margins. The men's team finished off its tri-meet by winning one dual and narrowly falling in the other after entering Saturday tied in that dual.
The women's team routed Michigan State by a 264-89 margin, topped Purdue 236-117, and in its narrowest margin of the three duals, defeated Virginia 218-134. The men topped Michigan State 214-138 but fell to Virginia by a narrow 183.5-169.5 score. For the meet, the women swam 12 new NCAA `B' qualifying times, lowered one other previous `B' time, as well as officially qualified its first swimmer for NCAA's with the one new `A' time.
The women won six of nine swimming events and six out of the 10 overall events on Saturday. For the meet, the women finished in first place in 13 of 16 swimming events and in 13 out of 18 events overall. First place finishers on Saturday included the 200 medley relay team of Michelle Myers, Caitlin Meehan, Kelly Nelson and Sarah Baker, Myers in the 100 backstroke, Meehan in the 200 breaststroke, Nelson in the 100 butterfly, Kaitlin O'Brien in the 400 IM, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Myers, Baker, Molly Crispell and Nelson.
"Our women were strong this weekend from start to finish. We have a couple of young ladies swimming with purpose and that makes it a heck of a lot of fun to practice and compete," said Penn State swimming coach Bill Dorenkott.
Josh Bonner recorded an NCAA Zone A qualifying score on the three-meter springboard.
The men's team won five out of 10 events contested on Saturday, including two wins in relay events. The 200 medley relay team of Pat Schirk, Kyle Miranda, Basil Kaaki and Vincent Reydams started off the day with a first place finish and then Kaaki, Reydams, Sean Swanepoel and Jason Goldner teamed up to win the 400 free relay to end the meet. Reydams added an individual first place finish as he touched the wall first in the 50 freestyle. Schirk added the 100 back to his 200 back first place finish from last night.
The highlight of the day for the men came on the three-meter springboard diving as Josh Bonner captured first place in that event with a score of 331.85, winning the event by over 25 points and scoring an NCAA Zone A qualifying score, the first male diver to post an NCAA score this year.
"I have a bittersweet feeling coming out of the meet. On the one hand, I am incredibly proud of our guys and how they raced. On the other, I am disappointed in the loss as we had a strong Virginia team on the ropes and did not finish them off," commented Dorenkott.
O'Brien's winning time in the 400 IM was a dominating 4:14.70, the first NCAA `A' time of the year for the Nittany Lions and over three-and-a-half second in front of the second place finisher. Karie Haglund and Kailey Morris finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 400 IM, with Haglund just missing a `B' time of her own.
New `B' times on the day included Myers' first place finish in the 100 back as she finished in :55.80. Kaitlyn Ferguson also finished third in that event. Nelson added another `B' time to her resume in winning the 100 fly in :55.13. The 400 free relay team of Myers, Baker, Nelson and Crispell ended the meet by adding one more `B' time of 3:23.99 with its first place finish. Additionally, Meehan lowered her previous `B' time in the 200 breaststroke in winning that event to sweep both breaststroke events in the meet. She won the 200 breast in 2:16.20, almost three full second in front of the second place finisher. She has now won all four breaststroke events in which she has swam in this year.
Kelly Nelson had six first place finishes over the two-day meet: four in relay events and two in individual events.
Also highlighting the meet for the women were the 2-3 finish of O'Brien and Stephanie Roop in the 1000 free. In the 200 breast, Clare Clemens and Abby Hoisington finished third and fourth behind Meehan. Crispell and Baker finished second and third in the 200 free. Crispell was second by just .25 of a second.
For the men, David Kraft placed third in the 1000 free in 9:21.48 behind a pair of Virginia swimmers. The Nittany Lions also claimed the top three spots in the 50 free as Jason Goldner and Rob Felty finished 2-3 behind the first place Reydams. Kaaki placed third in the 100 fly while Dito Calderon and Tim Williams finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 400 IM.
"I feel very good about where we currently are as a program and about the direction that we are heading," said Dorenkott.
Both Nittany Lion squads will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Bloomington, Ind. For the Hoosierland Open next Thursday- Saturday, November 15-17.
Special thanks to Penn State for contributing this report.