Castano, Daly, Schiffmann Double as Penn State Men Down West Virginia

Penn State vs West Virginia

  • January 18th, 2018
  • McCoy Natatorium (University Park, PA)
  • Results
  • Scores
    • Penn State 173 – WVU 122

The men from Pennsylvania State University cruised to victory over the visiting University of West Virginia in their meet Friday, January 18th. PSU, who would ultimately win 11 of the 16 events contested, got things started with a victory in the 200 medley relay, recording a time of 1:29.61, out-touching WVU, who finished in 1:30.02. Though the relay was close for the first 150 yards, freestyler Gabe Castano from Penn State blasted a 19.66 to pull ahead of Merwane Elmerini of WVU, who posted a 20.11 as the anchor for the Mountaineers.

Castano later sprinted his way to victory in the 50, hitting the wall in 20.43, just ahead of Merwane, who touched in 20.59. Later, Castano took the 100 free in 45.23, edging teammates Will Robertson and Matthew Dinunzio, who finished in 45.58 and 45.65, respectively, completing a sweep of the top-3 spots for the Nittany Lions.

PSU’s Michael Daly dominated the 200 fly, stopping the clock in 1:49.06, making him the only man to go sub-1:50. PSU’s Nathaniel Bledsoe and Zach Zwijacz finished second and third, respectively, recording times of 1:51.82 and 1:52.17. Daly’s second victory came in the 200 backstroke where once again he was the only swimmer under 1:50, recording a time of 1:48.89, with Bledsoe finishing second to Daly again in a time of 1:51.34.

Though Penn State’s Hayden Harlow and Daly touched the wall first and second in the men’s 200 IM, recording times of 1:50.07 and 1:51.77, respectively, the points for the top three finishers went to West Virginia’s Philip Kay (1:52.66), Ben Brooks (1:54.36), and Josh Harlan (1:55.35) as both Harlow and Daly, as well as four other swimmers from Penn State were all entered in the race as exhibitions. Had Harlow’s swim counted for points, it would have been his second official win of the day after taking the 200 breast earlier in a 2:03.43, well ahead of runner-up Brad Johnson, also from PSU.

Penn State’s Nathan Schiffmann proved himself the strongest middle-distance freestyler of the day with victories in the 200 free (1:40.47) and 500 free (4:30.89). While Drew Damich from WVU nearly ran Schiffmann down in the 200, the 500 was a showing of pure dominance by Schiffmann, who led from start to finish and won by 7.5 seconds.

Divers Hector Garcia Boissier and John Crow finished first and second, respectively, on both 1 and 3-meter boards to round out PSU’s victory.

West Virginia’s Angelo Russo doubled up with victories in the 100 back (49.35) and 100 fly (50.18). Both races came down to the touch, with Russo getting the better of PSU’s Liam Veregin (49.40) by only 5/100ths in the backstroke, and a mere 2/100ths in the fly, where he rallied ahead of PSU’s Dinunzio, who also placed third in the 100 free. Russo also tied for 5th in the 200 backstroke, touching the wall in 1:52.27, equaling teammate Philip Kay, winner of the 200 IM (1:52.66).

West Virginia closed the meet with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay, where the team of Merwane, Damich, Sam Neaveill, and Christopher O’Shea stopped the clock in 2:59.88. Though PSU exhibitioned each of its three relays, the team of Castano, Robertson, Dinunzio, and Eben Krigger still managed a time of 3:00.74, with a 44.96 lead off split from Castano.

From Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State men’s swimming and diving swept three events in a 173-122 win against West Virginia Friday evening in the McCoy Natatorium. The Nittany Lions finished with 11 first-place finishes in the meet.

Nittany Lion Relays
To start the meet off, the team of Liam VereginBrad JohnsonMatthew DiNunzio, and Gabe Castano placed first in the 200 medley with a score of 1:29.61. Penn State’s team of Tomer ZamirHayden Harlow, Zach Zwijacz, and Will Roberson took third in the event with a score of 1:31.74.

To conclude the meet, Castano, Dinunzio, Roberson, and Eben Krigger had the second fastest time in the 400 free relay (3:00.74).

Top Individual Performances
On the boards, Garcia Boissier swept the diving competitions with a win in the 1-meter with a score of 379.88, and the 3-meter (397.13). Fellow senior Jack Crow placed second in both the 1-meter (322.88) and the 3-meter (379.88).

For the swimmers, senior co-captain Robbie Dickson started off the individual events with a first-place finish in the 1000 free (9:32.02). Michael Daly led two sweeps for the Nittany Lions in the 200 fly (1:49.06) and 200 back (1:48.89). Following Daly in the 200 fly was Nathaniel Bledsoe (1:51.82), and Zach Zwijacz (1:52.17). Bledsoe also finished second in the 200 back (1:51.34) followed by Theo Perelli (1:51.82).

Gabe Castano finished the day with a pair of first place finishes as well. Castano finished first in the 50 free (20.43) and 100 free (45.23), which the Nittany Lions swept. Following Castano in the 100 free was Roberson (45.58) and DiNunzio (45.65).

Also with a pair of first-place finishes was Nathan Schiffmann, who placed first in the 200 free and 500 free with times of 1:40.47 and 4:30.89, respectively.

Hayden Harlow concluded the meet with a first-place finish in a sweep in the 200 breast (2:03.43) on top of a third place finish in the 100 breast (56.54). Brad Johnson (2:06.85) and William Lulek (2:07.10) finished second and third in the 200 breast sweep.

Penn State Event Winners 
200 Medley Relay- Liam VereginBrad Johnson, Matthew Dinunzio,Gabe Castano-1:29.61
1000 free- Robbie Dickson-9:32.02
200 free- Nathan Schiffmann-1:40.47
200 fly- Michael Daly-1:49.06
50 free- Gabe Castano-20.43
100 free- Gabe Castano-45.23
200 back- Michael Daly-1:48.89
200 breast- Hayden Harlow-2:03.43
500 free-Nathan Schiffmann-4:30.89
1-meter- Hector Garcia-Boissier- 379.88
3-meter- Hector Garcia-Boissier-397.13

Next Up
Tomorrow, the Penn State men’s and women’s swimming and diving team will return to the McCoy Natatorium from 8 a.m-10 a.m. when the team takes on Bloomsburg for Senior Day. The meet start time was moved earlier due to anticipated winter weather. Admission is free. Parking will be available in the East Parking Deck for $1 per hour.

The first intermission will feature the fourth annual Great Penn State Duck Toss, in which fans will have the opportunity to throw rubber ducks into the pool at hula hoop targets for an opportunity to win a TV. Further details will be available at the promotions table. Additionally, the men’s and women’s senior class will be honored during the second intermission.

Check for coverage of the Penn State swimming and diving teams during the season. Follow the team on Twitter at @PennStateSWIM and on Facebook at

A fundraiser has been launched to support freshman women’s swimmer Nikolette Nolte  and her family for costs associated with her leukemia treatment. Any surplus funds will be donated to THON and the Jessie Rees Foundation to help others facing pediatric cancer. Donate at

From West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University men’s swimming and diving team concluded its regular season with a loss to Penn State on Friday afternoon in University Park, Pennsylvania.

The Mountaineers earned five victories on the day, as the Nittany Lions earned a 173-122 victory at McCoy Natatorium. With the defeat, WVU fell to 4-2 in dual meets on the season.

Sophomore Angelo Russo won two events, while senior Jake Armstrong and sophomore Philip Kay each won one. West Virginia also won the 400 freestyle relay.

“Overall, we had a very solid effort today,” WVU coach Vic Riggs said. “Our relays were strong and there were several individuals who improved their swims from last weekend. Our next step is to continue to improve as we get ready for the Big 12 Championship.”

Russo’s wins came in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly, and Armstrong’s was in the 100 breaststroke as the Mountaineers placed first and second in the event. Kay’s victory came in the 200 individual medley. The 400 freestyle relay team’s win came thanks to seniors Merwane El Merini and Drew Damich, junior Sam Neaveill and sophomore Christopher O’Shea.

On springboard, West Virginia placed third on both events. Freshman PJ Lenz earned a score of 298.80 on 1-meter, while redshirt freshman Jacob Cardinal Tremblay recorded a 330.00 on 3-meter. Also, on 3-meter, Lenz was fourth with a 318.90.

“The divers did very well today; we definitely made improvements from warmups to the competition,” WVU diving coach Michael Grapner said. “I always ask them to aim for 6-for-6 on their dives. Tonight, we missed a few opportunities, but we moved on and quickly rebounded on our next dives. As we look ahead to Big 12s, I’m hopeful this will give the divers the right motivation to prepare and to capitalize on training.”

The meet began with the 200 medley relay, where the Mountaineers finished second. Russo, Armstrong, Neaveill and El Merini touched the wall with a time of 1:30.02.

In the meet’s first individual event, freshman Tom Hubbard placed third in the 1,000 freestyle in 9:51.08. Damich followed with a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle, with a time of 1:40.62.

Then, the Mountaineers earned back-to-back victories, first thanks to Russo’s 49.35 in the 100 backstroke, before Armstrong’s time of 56.09 paced the 100 breaststroke. O’Shea added a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke (50.07), while senior Tristen Di Sibio finished behind Armstrong in the 100 breaststroke, touching the wall in second place in 56.49.

After junior Jack Frazier notched a fifth-place finish to lead WVU in the 200 butterfly with a 1:53.16, West Virginia followed with a second- and third-place showing in the 50 freestyle. El Merini finished second in 20.59, just ahead of Neaveill’s 21.02 to place third.

The next three events saw Damich finish fourth in the 100 freestyle (45.86), freshman Josh Harlan place fourth in the 200 backstroke (1:52.12) and junior Jack Portmann finish fourth in the 200 breaststroke (2:07.42).

Sophomore Max Gustafson then touched the wall in third place in the 500 freestyle, with a time of 4:39.50.

A pair of Mountaineer wins followed, as Russo won the 100 butterfly and Kay registered the victory in the 200 individual medley. Russo’s win came by just 0.02 seconds, while Neaveill added a third-place finish with a time of 50.38. Along with Kay in the 200 individual medley, sophomore Ben Brooks was second (1:54.36) and Harlan third (1:55.35).

The meet concluded with West Virginia’s victory in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 2:59.88.

Friday’s meet was the Mountaineer men’s final regular-season competition before the 2019 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship, which is set for Feb. 27-March 2, in Austin, Texas. Prior to the conference championship meet, the WVU women’s team will take on Big 12 foe Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 26, in Ames, Iowa.

For more information on the Mountaineers, visit and follow WVUSwimDive on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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