CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State University men's and women's swimming & diving teams officially kick off the 2017-18 season with a two-day event this weekend.
The Vikings will open the season by taking part in the Justin Jennings Memorial Invitational that is hosted by Colgate. Action will begin at 5:00 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, and continues Saturday, Oct. 7, at 9:00 a.m. All traditional individual events will be contested along with the 100 IM while three relays will also be held. The order of events for the meet is listed at the bottom of this article.
It is the second straight season the Vikings have opened their season by competing at Colgate, as the men's program finished second of four teams last year while the CSU women were fourth of seven. A similar group of teams is back to compete that swam last year as UMass, Le Moyne and Saint Francis (Pa.) (women) return from 2016-17. St. Bonaventure will also compete at the event this year in addition to the host Raiders.
The CSU men posted 663 points in finishing second at the Horizon League Championships last year, the program's highest point total in four years. There are 13 Vikings on this year's roster that scored points as an individual at last year's League meet.
The trio of CSU men's seniors—Jonathan LaValle, Patrick Tippen and Grant Wethington—combined for five top-eight individual finishes at last year's League meet. Junior Jared Stergar will look to carry a strong ending to last season over to this year. Stergar had a breakout performance at the 2017 HL Championships, winning the 200 breaststroke and posting two other top-four finishes. Classmate Curtis Roden led CSU on the diving board last year, twice surpassing the NCAA Zones standard in the 3-meter event and finishing third at the League meet.
Sophomores DJ Arslanian and Tyler Stevenson had strong rookie seasons, combining for four top-five finishes at the League meet, and will look to improve even further with a year of experience under their belts. The Cleveland State men also have 12 freshmen and three transfers who will be competing as Vikings for the first time this weekend.
The CSU women improved two spots from the year prior at the 2017 Horizon League Championships while posting their highest point total during head coach Paul Graham's tenure.
Seniors Madisen Tretter, Jamie VanDewerker and Tobie Zeller combined to post five top-10 individual finishes at the League meet a season ago. Tretter owns the school record in the 200 breaststroke while VanDewerker and Zeller were on CSU's record-breaking 200 medley relay last year.
Juniors Molly McNamara and Cassandra Oltman return after also being on the aforementioned relay that broke a school record. McNamara broke school records and posted NCAA cut times in both butterfly events last season while claiming the League title in the 200 fly. Oltman scored in three individual events at last year's League meet and posted top-four finishes in three events at the Magnus Cup. Sophomores Meghan Bobick and Gabriella Marinelli both scored in multiple individual events at last year's League Championships as rookies while 10 freshmen join the women's squad that will look to make similar impacts in their first collegiate seasons.
After competing at Colgate, the Vikings will take about two weeks off before beginning their dual meet schedule by traveling to Xavier and Cincinnati on back-to-back days.
Order of Events
Friday, Oct. 6 (5:00 p.m. start):
200 Freestyle Relay
Diving (women's 1-meter/men's 3-meter)
Saturday, Oct. 7 (9:00 a.m. start):
400 Freestyle Relay
Diving (men's 1-meter/women's 3-meter)
200 Medley Relay