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Penn State swim and dive honors MSU seniors at final regular season meet

February 11, 2021
Then-sophomore Jakob Heberling performs multiple flips off of the three-meter board. Michigan State hosted the swim and dive meet against Oakland on Jan. 18, 2020.
Then-sophomore Jakob Heberling performs multiple flips off of the three-meter board. Michigan State hosted the swim and dive meet against Oakland on Jan. 18, 2020. —
Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Senior night is one of the most memorable nights a student-athlete has in their career. Taking a look at the crowd one last time in what could be the last event of your career brings tears to the eyes of many. 

In their last season as a program, MSU swim and dive didn’t have the traditional senior night, but an act of pure class by Penn State helped the team feel as close to normal as they could.

On Feb. 6 Penn State's athletic director and swim and dive programs honored MSU’s senior swim and dive athletes along with their own, letting the MSU seniors have their name announced while on a podium, and even shook hands with the PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour.

“We weren’t really expecting anything, so having them surprise us that day was really touching,” senior swimmer Taylor Arnold said.

The decision came after finding out that MSU has no more home meets, therefore denying them a chance to have a senior night of their own.

“It’s really cool seeing other schools being really active in the fight for reinstatement of the program,” said senior MSU swimmer Aidan Farley. “It also gets you thinking, MSU’s not really doing much for us or not really supporting us through our last season.”

Farley said while they do appreciate the gestures from other schools like Penn St., it is kind of bittersweet that these other schools are doing more than MSU is for its own program.

Tension between the MSU swim and dive program and the university is reaching highs as athletic director Bill Beekman reinforced the cutting of the program even after a large $32 million donation to MSU athletics by alumni and former basketball player Mat Ishbia.

“While I'm grateful that we have donors for this university, it was a little bit of a tough situation for us,” said senior swimmer Taylor Contino.

“It’s definitely frustrating because it kind of proves that it’s not really a money issue, as they claim it is,” said Arnold.

After giving four years of their athletic careers to MSU, the senior swimmers of MSU must lead their teams in their final and most important meets of the season with seemingly more support from opponents and the community, than from their own university.

MSU swimming and diving only has the Big Ten Championship meet left, as the women’s swimming Big Ten championship will be Feb. 23-27 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, both men's and women's diving championships will be held in West Lafayette, Indiana Feb. 24-27 and the men’s swimming championships will be held in Columbus, Ohio March 2-6.

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