Georgia Tech, Penn State Split; Top Liberty in Season Opener

The Penn State women won their season opener on Friday, while the men fell to Georgia Tech. It was a tri-meet against Liberty and Georgia Tech for the women and a dual against the Yellow Jackets for the men.

On the women’s side, Penn State junior Casey Francis impressed with a sweep of the distance events. She started off with a 10:03.17 to win the 1000 and later took the 500 in 4:57.21. On the men’s side, Georgia Tech’s Yuval Safra put on an equally impressive performance in the distance races. He captured the 1,000 (9:19.71) and 500 (4:31.85) as well.


ATLANTA, Ga. – The Liberty swimming & diving team took on a pair of major-conference foes on Friday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. The Lady Flames fell to the host Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 178-120, while dropping a 173-119 decision to Penn State.

Following Friday’s action, Liberty now holds a 1-2 dual-meet record on the season. Penn State begins its campaign at 2-0, after also defeating Georgia Tech, 197-96. Liberty is now 0-2 all-time against the Nittany Lions, while facing the Yellow Jackets for the first time on Friday.

Kristin VanDeventer opened up the individual event program with a second place finish in the 1000 free, swimming 10:30.79. Hannah Wakeley followed in third at 10:39.68 and Dani Jordan placed fourth (10:48.90), as all three Lady Flames posted season-best times.

Victoria Tschoke came in second during the 100 back in 56.84, while Kendall Hough placed fourth at 57.19, both season bests.

Alicia Finnigan’s fastest 200 individual medley this season, 2:10.13, earned her second place, while Victoria Tschoke (2:12.90) and Anna Dickinson (season-best 2:14.43) placed fifth and sixth, respectively.

Prudence Rooker took third in the 100 breaststroke in a season-best 1:05.68. Rooker later earned a third-place finish in the 200 breaststroke, clocking 2:23.19.

Tschoke’s season-best 200 back time of 2:03.17 was good for third place.

Finnigan claimed third place in the 100 fly, with her fastest time this season, 57.31. Earlier in the event, she clocked a season-best 2:05.74 for fourth place in the 200 fly.

VanDeventer followed up her second-place finish in the 1000 free by placing fifth in the 500 free in 5:11.86.

In the 50 free, Rachel Hoeve (24.19) and Hough (24.22) took fifth and sixth, respectively, both season bests. Hough clocked a 52.88 in the 100 free, good for fifth place, while her 100 free was the fastest by a Lady Flame so far in 2015-16.

Liberty’s divers, Brooke Fox and Madi Long, claimed fifth and sixth, in, in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events. Fox scored 175.70 in one-meter diving, while posting a 165.60 in three-meter. Long’s one-meter scored was 161.95, while she earned 145.10 points in three-meter diving.

The Lady Flames’ 400 free relays earned third and fourth, with the quartet of Hough, Ashlee Sall, Hoeve and Pond swimming 3:32.76 for fourth.

Liberty placed fifth in the meet-opening 400 medley relay as Danielle Boothe, Dickinson, Natalie Beale and Shelby Black clocked 4:00.39.

Liberty will make its first trip to Texas, competing in a pair of meets in the Lone Star State next weekend. The Lady Flames will swim in a tri-meet at TCU, next Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, before competing in a quad meet at North Texas, Saturday at noon Eastern.

Swimming news courtesy of Liberty Swimming.

Georgia Tech:

THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech swimming & diving team opened their season with positive results at the McAuley Aquatic Center Friday night as the team celebrated Professor Appreciation Day. It was also the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness meet.

The men prevailed over Penn State by a score of 184.00 to 111.00, while the women defeated Liberty, 178.00 to 120.00. The women, however, fell to Penn State by a score of 173.00 to 119.00. The Penn State women also defeated Liberty by a score of 197.00 to 96.00.

Perhaps the most impressive performance on the men’s side came from senior captain Yuval Safra, who won the 1000 freestyle by nearly 14 seconds. Safra also came out on top in the 500 free. Sophomore Moises Loschi also impressed on Friday, winning both the 100 and 200 breast, as well as the 400 medley relay. Brian Woodbury also claimed multiple victories, as he won the 100 and 200 backstroke races.

The women earned a victory in the 400 free relay with a team consisting of Iris Wang, Sarah Gilbert, Morgan Lyonsand Efrat Rotsztjen. Rotsztjen also came away with a victory in the 200 breaststroke.

The Jackets did very well in diving, as Shannon Lumbra won both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives. Omar Eteiba also won the 3-meter dive.

“I’m very happy with our first competition,” head coach Courtney Shealy Hart said. “Obviously our men from start to finish. I think started off a little slow, but definitely turned it around. I was very proud of them for being able to do that in the middle of a meet and finish strong. We’re working hard right now. It’s good to see some good swimming, and we’re looking forward to getting back to work before we travel to West Virginia and Pitt.”

For the second time in program history, Georgia Tech and the CRC will serve as the host site for the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. The Women’s Championships will be held March 16-19, followed by the Men’s Championships March 23-26. Georgia Tech previously hosted the 2007 NCAA Championships and the CRC was also the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics swimming and diving competitions. Admission to all home Georgia Tech swimming events are free and open to the public. Home events are held at the McAuley Aquatic Center located inside the Campus Recreation Center (CRC).

Swimming news courtesy of Georgia Tech Swimming & Diving.

Penn State:


ATLANTA – Matt Grillo (Montreal) and Hector Garcia Bossier led the Penn State men’s swimming and diving team with event wins, as Georgia Tech defeated the Nittany Lions, 184-111, Friday night in the GT Aquatic Center.

Grillo won the 50 freestyle in 21.20 seconds, while the freshman Garcia won the 1-meter dive with a score of 348.8, and came up just short in the 3-meter, placing second with 331.75 points, 3.05 points shy of first. Classmate Jack Crow(Bethesda, Md.) was third in the 1-meter with a score of 270.0.

The Lions totaled seven other podium finishes in scored individual events. Matt Stasiunas (Avondale, Pa.), Rory Lewisand Tim Maurer (Hershey, Pa.) both earned silver and bronze. Stasiunas was the runner-up in the 200 freestyle (1:40.35), followed by Lewis (1:41.02) in third, and placed third in the 500 free (4:37.32). Lewis was the runner-up in the 100 butterfly (50.48), while Maurer touched second in the 200 backstroke (1:52.01) and third in the 100 back (50.79).

Andrew Schueler (Camden, N.J.) was second in the 100 breaststroke (57.41) and Jonathan Seiferth (Allison Park, Pa.) was third in the 200 butterfly in 1:53.82. Nathaniel Bledsoe (Carmel, Ind.) swam the second fastest time in the 200 IM of 1:53.87.

Penn State will return to the pool Saturday in Atlanta, taking on Emory.


ATLANTA – The Penn State women’s swimming and diving team opened the 2015-16 season with a pair of victories, defeating Georgia Tech, 173-119, and Liberty 197-96, Friday night in the GT Aquatic Center.

Of the 14 swimming events, Penn State (2-0), swept the podium in two, claimed the top two places in four additional races, and took gold and bronze in two others.

Penn State opened the meet by claiming the top two places in the 400-yard medley relay, led by the team of Casey Fazio(Washington Township, N.J.), Melissa Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico), Katie Saloky (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and Alyson Ackman(Montreal) in 3:46.74. The ‘B’ team of Allie Pennetti (Wexford, Pa.), Taylor Cameron (Burlington, Ontario), Katie Rowe(Glenville, N.Y.) and Kaitlin Jones (Midlothian, Va.) touched second in 3:48.54. The Lions also posted the fastest time in the 400 freestyle relay to conclude the meet, but the event was unscored. Mackenzie Hornibrook (West Chester, Pa.), Ackman, Jones and Saloky finished in 3:26.52.

Casey Francis (East Meadow, N.Y.) claimed the 1,000 freestyle by more than 27 seconds, touching in 10:03.17. She also claimed the 500 free, edging teammate Katelyn Sowinski (Severna Park, Md.) (4:57.53) by just 0.32 seconds in 4:57.21.

Megan Wujciak (Livingston, N.J.) led a sweep in the 200 free, touching first in 1:50.27. Ackman trailed in 1:51.67 and was followed by Monika Gonzalez-Hermosillo (Mexico City). Wujciak (2:03.77) also led four Nittany Lions with the fastest times in the 200 IM, but the race was not scored. Haley Sinatro(West Hartford, Conn.) (2:03.79), Gonzalez-Hermosillo (2:04.01), and Rowe (2:05.88) followed in order.

Rowe (2:00.60), Sowinski (2:01.70) and Francis (2:05.67) also completed a sweep of the 200 butterfly. Saloky (23.32) and Jones (23.74) claimed the top two places in the 50 free, while Fazio (2:02.60) and Rowe (2:02.74) did the same in a close finish in the 200 backstroke. Jones (50.67) and Ackman (51.67) claimed gold and bronze in the 100 free, as did Pennetti (55.98) and Fazio (56.94) in the 100 backstroke.

Additional event wins included Rodriguez in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.16) and Saloky in the 100 butterfly (56.33).

Mackenzie Cornell (Germantown, Md.) led the Lions in both diving events, placing second in both the 1-meter (256.80) and 3-meter (292.60) dives. She came up 1.35 points shy of Georgia Tech’s Shannon Lumbra in the 3-meter.

Penn State will return to the pool Saturday in Atlanta, taking on Emory.

Swimming news courtesy of Penn State Swimming & Diving.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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