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Ally McHugh Sets School Swimming Record, Finishes Behind Only Katie Ledecky At NCAA Championships

Ally McHugh was the lone Nittany Lion to earn a spot at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships this past weekend in Columbus.

She had already competed in the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley — placing ninth and 17th, respectively — heading into her specialty on Saturday night, the 1,650-yard freestyle.

At the end of the mile-long race, the Penn State junior made history. Her time of 15 minutes, 36.27 seconds, which broke her own school record that she set winning the Big Ten title a month before, was good enough for second place — the highest a Penn State women’s swimmer has ever finished at the NCAA Championships. She became the third medalist in school history and first All-American Nittany Lion since 2015.

The performance would have been good for gold if Katie Ledecky, five-time Olympic gold medalist, 14-time world champion, and the 1,500-meter freestyle world record holder, wasn’t in the race. As per usual for the Stanford sophomore who may go down as the greatest swimmer of all time, she defeated the field by almost 20 seconds.

It’s not an Olympic or World Championship year, but McHugh could be a name to look out for at nationals these next few years. If all goes well, maybe she could repeat Shane Ryan’s feat at the last Olympics and become the next Nittany Lion swimmer to earn a spot at the sport’s biggest showcase.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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