DALLAS, Texas, November 1. AGAINST another pair of ranked opponents, the No. 13 Penn State women's swimming and diving team tied with No. 14 Southern Methodist with a score of 121.5. The No. 16 men's team fell by a narrow margin to the No. 21 Mustangs by a score of 134.5 to 106.5. Swimmers from both the men's and women's teams earned NCAA qualifying times and will appear at the championships in March.
The men took four out of 13 first place finishes. Distance swimmer David Kraft took two of those in the 1000 meter freestyle and 500 meter freestyle. Patrick Schirk placed second in the 100 backstroke with an NCAA "A" qualifying time of 49.62 while Brian Alden touched the wall first in the 50 freestyle earning his own NCAA "A" time in 20.79. The 100 butterfly was a tight race as the top three finished within one second of each other. Taking first was Tim Williams in 50.14 while Basil Kaaki checked in at third in 50.54. Both Williams and Kaaki earned "A" times with their finishes.
In the 200 freestyle relay, the Mustangs just outstretched the Nittany Lions as Kaaki, Alden, Vincent Reydams and Jason Goldner took second place in 1:22.67, only six hundreths of a second behind SMU, but still good enough to qualify for the NCAAs.
Josh Bonner took second place in both the one and three-meter springboard events. He scored 267.38 on the three-meter and improved to 294.07 on the on-meter.
The women also had an impressive showing taking six of 13 first place finishes. Karie Haglund was outstanding touching the wall first in three events and earning NCAA "A" qualifying times in two. She convincingly won the 1000 freestyle in 9:58.05. She will advance to the NCAA Championships in March in both the 500 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke. Kaitlin O'Brien also got an NCAA "A" qualifying time and first place finish in the 200 IM with a time of 2:03.71. Penn State took the top three spots in the 100 backstroke in Michelle Myers, Kaitlyn Ferguson and Daphne Skelos. Myers secured an NCAA "A" qualifying time in both the 100 backstroke and the 50 freestyle.
Myers, Lindsey DeForrest, Samantha Palser and Sarah Baker finished second in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:33.47. This group also earned an NCAA qualifying time.
Courtney Adlam placed second in the three-meter springboard and third in the one-meter springboard. Her third place finish earned a score of 220.35 while she earned 295.43 points.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Charlottesville, Va. to meet with Virginia and Florida State on Nov. 14 and 15. The Cavaliers boast a top program with their men ranked No. 15 and their women ranked No. 10 while Florida State has a strong women's program ranked at No. 22.
Special thanks to Penn State for contributing this report.