Breaststroker Gunther Cassell from the Long Island Express in New York has committed to the Penn State Nittany Lions. This is a big grab for Penn State, who lost one of their sub-54 second 100 breaststrokers, James Wilson, to graduation last year. In high school, Cassell was an All-American in the 100 breast as a freshman, sophomore, and junior, and won the NY State Championships in that event as a freshman and sophomore.
“I couldn’t have picked a better school! There are so many things I loved about Penn State, but the factor that really stood out to me was the amazing coaching staff and the camaraderie of the swim team. It’s the perfect fit. WE ARE!”
Cassell’s best times in yards in the 100 and 200 breaststroke are 55.13 and 2:00.05, respectively. He also boasts bests of 25.33 in the 50 breast and 1:54.78 in the 200 IM.
In meters, Cassell’s times of 1:03.40 and 2:16.48 in the 100 and 200 breast are both Olympic Trials qualifying times. His 1:03.40 was done at the 2014 Speedo Junior National Championships, where he won the C final of the 100m breast. He was disqualified in the 200m breast in prelims at the same meet, but the 2:16.48 that he threw down in a time trial would have placed him 2nd in the A final.
Cassell’s arrival to the Penn State will be a huge boost for their breaststroke group, which is led by sophomore Andrew Schuehler. Schuehler was 53.31 and 1:57.63 in the breaststroke events last year, and Cassell’s bests in yards would’ve put him third on their top times list from the previous season. It took 55.11 and 1:59.31, respectively, to make the C final in the 100 and 200 breast at last year’s Big Ten Championships. With small improvements, Cassell can automatically contribute individually for the Nittany Lions in a stroke that they are lacking depth in.
Cassell will join other commits Sam Petrini, Nathaniel Bledsoe, Robbie Dickson, Sterg Dikos, and John Om in Penn State’s class of 2019.