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Rules of the Game

Collegiate swimming and diving includes 14 individual swimming events, 5 relay events, and 3 diving events, for both men and women.  These events are:

  •  Backstroke swimming (BA) - for 100 and 200 yard races. 
  •  Breaststroke swimming (BR) - for 100 and 200 yard races. 
  •  Butterfly swimming (BU) - for 100 and 200 yard races. 
  •  Freestyle swimming (FR) - for 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,650 yard races. 
  •  Individual medley (IM) - for 200 and 400 yard races. An individual swims ¼ of the race using each of the above strokes.
  •  Freestyle relay (FRR) - for 200, 400, and 800 yard races. A team of four swimmers participate, each swimming ¼ of the race.
  •  Medley relay (MR) - for 200 and 400 yard races. A team of four swimmers participate, each swimming ¼ of the race.  Each swimmer swims a different one of the above strokes.
  •  1 meter and 3 meter springboard dives. Dives are attempted off of a flexible diving board 1 meter and 3 meters above the water surface.
  •  Platform dives.  Dives are attempted off of stationary platforms that are 5, 7.5, or 10 meters above the water surface.  Collegiate divers may select the particular platform(s) off of which they dive.

Judges determine the scores for all divers.  A diver’s position can be straight, pike (slight bend at hips), tuck (body folded, hands on shins), or free (includes components of all other positions) during passage through the air.  Dives may include twists and somersaults.  Head-first water entry must vertical, with hands together and arms straight and extended in line with the body; feet-first entry requires straight arms close to the body with no bend in the elbows.  Diving scores are based on the diver’s success and the difficulty of the dive attempted.  

Penn State Women’s Swimming & Diving History

Ellen Perry was Penn State’s first women’s varsity swimming coach, beginning with the 1969-70 season; she coached for 12 seasons, compiling a record of 103-26.  Her teams earned nine consecutive top-5 finishes in the Eastern Championships, and she coached 22 first-team All-Americans.  Subsequent to her coaching career, Perry was the Associate Athletic Director for women’s sports at the University. 

Bob Kimmel succeeded Ellen Perry, coaching through the 1997-98 season, ending with a record of 162-38-1.  His teams won two Eastern Championships and finished in the top 5 seven other times. He coached 73 first-team All-Americans, including 2-time Olympic 3 meter diving bronze medalist Mary Ellen Clark, five first-team All-Big 10 selections, and seven Big 10 individual champions.

Bill Dorenkott, an assistant men’s coach at Penn State, took over the head coaching reins from Kimmel in 1998.  Previously a very successful head coach of both men’s and women’s swimming at Ashland (OH) University, Dorenkott became men’s head coach at PennState as well in 2001.  Under his tutelage, the women’s swimming team has become a Big 10 power, winning three titles in the last six years, along with two second- and two third-place finishes in the last seven years.  His teams earned what at the time were the five best NCAA tournament finishes in Penn State history, including 11th place 2001.  Dorenkott  coached 31 1st team All-Americans, 37 All-Big 10 selections, 20 individual Big 10 champions, and 10 conference relay team champions.  Dorenkott resigned after the 2007/2008 season, and was replaced by John Hargis.  After the 2013 season, Hargis left Penn State; in August, 2013, Tim Murphy, the coach at Harvard the previous 15 seasons, was named as Hargis’ successor.

In 2014, the team finished 3rd at the Big 10 Tournament.  McKenzie Powers set a Big 10 record (51.56 seconds) in winning the 100 yard butterfly, and Alyson Ackman won the 200 yard freestyle.  Ackman also placed 5th in this event at the NCAA Championships, setting a Big 10 record (1:44.01 seconds) in the process, earning 1st team All-American honors.  The Nittany Lions finished 18th at this meet, the 4th highest in program history.

In 2017,  Ally McHugh won a silver medal in the 400m individual medley at the Big 10 Championships, and earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors.  At the National Championships, McHugh was an honorable mention All-American in the mile and 400m individual medley. McHugh topped this performance in 2018, although Penn State finished 8th again at the Conference Championships.  She won a gold medal in the 1650m freestyle at the Big Ten’s and a silver medal in the 400m IM.  At the NCAA’s, McHugh won a silver medal in the 1650m IM, the highest finish ever at this Tournament (in any event) by a Penn State woman.  McHugh then capped-off her incredible season by become Penn State’s first U.S. National Champion (400m IM) and also earning a silver medal at these Championships (1500 freestyle).

The team competes at the McCoy Natatorium and the outdoor pool.


Team Accomplishments

Eastern Championships 
1978, 1980

Big 10 Championships 
2002, 2005, 2006 

Scholar All-American Team

Notable Divers    

Mary Ellen Clark (1982-1985)

1984 1st team All-American (3 meter)
1985 1st team All-American (1 meter, 3 meter)
1985 7th place NCAA (1 meter)
1985 5th place NCAA (3 meter)
1992, 1996 Olympic bronze medal (10 meter)

Jamie Jaax (1997, 1999-2001)

1999 1st team All-American
1999, 2000 first team All-Big 10
1999 Big 10 champion (3 meter)

Notable Swimmers

Kristen Woodring (2001-2, 2004-5)

2001 3rd place NCAA (100 meter backstroke)
2001 1st team All-American (100 BR, 200 MR)
2005 1st team All-American (200 MR, 400 MR)
2001-2, 2004-5 1st team All-Big 10
2001-2, 2003-4 Big 10 champion (100 BR)
2002 Big 10 Champion (200 MR, 400 MR) 
All-time Big 10 record (100 BR)

Amberlee Biedermann (2003-2006)

2004-5 1st team All-American (200 MR, 400MR)
2004-5 1st team All-American (200 MR, 400MR)
2003-2005 1st team All-Big 10
2003, 2005 Big 10 champion (100 BU)
2003, 2004 Big 10 champion (200 BU)
2003-5 Big 10 Champion (200 MR, 400 MR)
All-time Big 10 record (400 MR)

Sarah Haupt (2003-2006)

2004 1st team All-American (100 BA, 200/400 MR)
2005 1st team All-American (2 MR, 400 MR)
2003-2006 1st team All-Big 10
2003, 2004, 2006 Big 10 champion (100 BA)
2003-5 Big 10 Champion (200 MR, 400 MR)
All-time Big 10 record (100 BA)
All time Big 10 record (400 MR)

Player Recognition

Big 10 Recordholders – Sarah Haupt (100 BA, 53.03, 2006); Kristen Woodring (100 BR, 59.77, 2001); Alyson Ackman (200 FR, 1;44.01, 2014); McKenzie Powers (100 BU, 51.56, 2014); Haupt/Stanchock/Biederman/Dlugonski (400 MR, 3:36.39 (2003).

Big 10 Individual Champions – 32, including 4-time winner Kristen Woodring (100 BR, 2001-2, 2003-4).

Big 10 Relay Champions – 11, including Biedermann/Dlugonski/Haupt/Stanchock (400 MR, 3:36.39, 2003; 200 MR, 1:39.41, 2004; 400 MR, 3:38.79, 2005).

Big 10 Freshman of the Year-- Chelsea Weedman (2011).

First Team All-Americans – 129, including Fran McDermid (9 FR events, including 100, 200, 400, 800 in 1992), and Ally McHugh, who won a silver medal in 2018 in the 1650 IM.

First team All-Big 10 – 52, including 4-time selectees Kristen Woodring (2002-3, 2004-5); DeeDlugonski (2002-5); Sarah Haupt (2003-6).

U.S. National Champion – Ally McHugh (400m IM, 2018)

NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners – Bobbi Millard (1991); Dee Dlugonski (2005); Sarah Haupt (2006).

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