Nov. 16, 1996

Brown Leads Swimmers Past No. 31 Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Purdue men's swim team won every swimming event except the 500 freestyle en route to an 140-102 upset win over No. 31 Penn State, Saturday at McCoy Natatorium in State College, Pa.

''This was a great win for us from a team standpoint because last year we got blown out by Penn State in our dual, but this year we went to their pool and dominated from the start of the meet to the final relay,'' an excited coach Dan Ross said. ``We swam great and the divers also did well.''

Senior tri-captain Matt Brown was unstoppable as he swam and won three grueling events (1000 free, 200 individual medley, 200 backstroke) within an hour of each other. Brown coasted to victory in the 1000 free in a season best time of 9:29.02, basically floating the final 100 yards because he had to bounce back and swim two events a couple races later.

In the 200 IM, Brown was once again dominant. He touched in 1:50.92, bettering his previous season best of 1:51.72 which was already the nation's top mark of the 1996-97 season.The Fort Dodge, Iowa native, Brown, also blitzed the field in the 200 back, touching in another season best time (1:49.71).

''After the meet our guys were all telling me that Matt Brown should get some kind of award for the performance that he had today,'' Ross said. ''Everybody on this team knew that Matt gutted it out for the team and swam a couple tough events right together. Matt is our leader as a team captain and he certainly showed why today.''

The Boilermakers' sprint freestylers also turned in impressive victories in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle. Junior Frank Smardo touched first in the 50-yard in 20.84, crushing his season best by almost a full second. In the 100 free, sophomore Kirk Larsen out-raced junior teammate Mike Ullom, who finished 1-2 in times of 46.27 and 46.41, respectively. Junior Ross Croasdell took first in the 200 free in 1:40.93, also a season best.

Purdue's other individual event winners were sophomores Vilmos "Willy" Kovacs and Dan Kleber. Kovacs, still hurting from a root canal on Friday, won the 200 breaststroke in 2:03.94 with Rensselaer native Grandon Spence placing third in 2:08.32. The Boilermakers went 1-2 in the 200 fly as Kleber touched first in 1:52.47, followed by freshman Gerald Koh in 1:52.66.

In addition, the Boilermakers won both relays. The 400 free relay, known as the "Pride of Penn State," saw the Boilermaker team of Larsen, freshman Kevin Cornehl, Smardo and Ullom touch first in a season best of 3:03.38 -- highlighted by the final two legs which averaged 25.2 -- as compared to PSU's 3:04.28. In the 400 medley relay, senior Gene Sutherland, Kovacs, Kleber and Larsen cruised to victory in 3:23.77.

In diving, freshman Brandon Gustafson and sophomore Dan Schunk each finished third off the 1- and 3-meter, respectively.