March 18, 2009

Five crowned All-American; Wolverines 4th in team points

MINNEAPOLIS -- Five Grove City College swimmers earned NCAA Division III All-America honors Wednesday night during the opening night of competition at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, hosted by Macalester College at the University of Minnesota.

Freshman Clay Beckner (Chambersburg, Pa./Chambersburg), sophomore Cam Coppelli (Guys Mills, Pa./Saegertown), senior Caleb Courage (Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg), senior Peter Larsen (Federal Way, Wash./Tacoma Baptist) and senior Tim Whitbeck (Saegertown, Pa./Saegertown) all earned All-America honors for their respective performances Wednesday night.

Courage earned his 12th career All-America citation by earning second in the 50 freestyle. Courage posted a school-record time of 19.97 seconds in the final. Kenyon's Zachary Turk won the 50 in 19.93 seconds.

Whitbeck touched third in the 50 with a time of 20.03 seconds. In Wednesday's preliminaries, Whitbeck set a new school record in the 50 with a time of 20.00 seconds.

Later Wednesday night, Whitbeck received his 10th career All-America as he anchored Grove City's 12th-place 200 medley relay team. The combination of Coppelli (backstroke), Beckner (breaststroke), Larsen (butterfly) and Whitbeck (freestyle) recorded a time of 1:32.33. The Wolverines posted a preliminary time of 1:33.01 in Wednesday's first session.

It is Larsen's second career All-America honor. Beckner and Coppelli become the program's 52nd and 53rd all-time NCAA All-Americans. Courage and Whitbeck are the most decorated swimmers in program history.

Two other Grove City swimmers also competed in the preliminaries Wednesday. Freshman Ben Bowser (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) captured 19th in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:52.88. Freshman Kirk Gagliardo (Wadsworth, Ill./Warren Township) placed 36th in the preliminaries of the 50 free with a time of 21.03 seconds.

Grove City has accumulated 43 team points, good for fourth place in the team standings. Kenyon leads the team standings with 154 points while Emory is second at 101. St. Olaf is third with 78 points.

Thursday's action begins at 11 a.m. Eastern with preliminaries. The finals begin at 6:30 p.m.

Complete Results

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