Over the course of four days in Minnesota, No. 24 Penn State capped off its Big Ten season in the water nicely.
The team shattered nine school records and had five swimmers named to either the first or second All-Big Ten teams before wrapping up the weekend event.
The Nittany Lions placed third out of the 12 teams, with only Indiana and host Minnesota placing ahead of them.
“I thought we did very well,” coach John Hargis said. “There were a few swims we left out there, a few I’d have liked to see us do better in, but overall I think we had a good swim meet. Not a great one, but a very good one.”
While the Lions had desires for winning the championship, the performance out in Minnesota had some standouts.
Three of the nine records broken were set by freshmen, a statistic that bodes well for the future of the program.
“Things are definitely heading in the right direction with this program,” said senior Paige Whitmire, who broke three records over the course of the weekend. “And it’s just really exciting to be a part of it all.”
Whitmire said she wanted to cap off her senior season in strong fashion, remembering her freshman year when the then-senior class finished in seventh during the championships.
“They were so upset,” Whitmire said. “So I used that as some motivation.”
Whitmire’s performance in the water led the way for the Lions, and was also instrumental in giving Penn State some solid performances in the relay events.
Whitmire was part of the quartet of Carolyn Fittin, Alyson Ackman, and Katelyn Miller that finished second in the 200-freestyle relay, breaking the school record. Penn State also finished fourth in the 800-freestyle relay and fifth in the 200-medley.
“Paige really knows how to push everyone to their absolute best,” said senior Merritt Krawcyzk, who raced in the 200-medley with Whitmire. “And our performances are going to help us get recruits and get some faster freshmen into the program.”
With Big Tens completed, the Lions now look forward to the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis, which begins March 21.
“This weekend was a culmination of a lot of different things,” Hargis said. “But we still have one more to go, so we’ll see what happens.”
Whitmire and Ackman were named to first-team All-Big Ten, while Fittin, Miller, and Krawcyzk earned second team.