Men's Swimming & Diving Takes Second At Conference Championships

Men's Swimming & Diving Takes Second At Conference Championships
Although the Cleveland State men's swimming and diving team didn't accomplish everything it set out to do at the Horizon League Championships this past weekend in Chicago, the Vikings returned home with more than enough reasons to feel proud about their outstanding season.

Cleveland State grabbed an impressive eight first-place finishes while finishing second with 698 points, just 57 behind Wisconsin-Green Bay's 755. Third place went to last year's champion, Wright State (677), followed by Wisconsin-Milwaukee (502), Illinois-Chicago (349) and Butler (245).

The Vikings finished third in 2001.

Leading CSU, as he has all year, was junior Andrew Hancock (Cambridge, Australia/St. Mary's Senior). Hancock set personal bests while winning the 500-yard freestyle in 4:34.92 and the 1650-yard freestyle with a 15:50.86. He then broke a Cleveland State record when he took second in the 400-yard Individual Medley with a 3:59.66. Hancock also swam the first leg of the first-place finishing 800-yard freestyle relay (6:45.72).

For his exceptional effort this past weekend and throughout the year, the Horizon League honored Hancock as the Men's Swimmer of the Year.

Battling Hancock for conference honors was sophomore Warren Vickers (Durban, South Africa/Durban). Vickers nearly broke a 20 year-old Cleveland State record when he won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:40.37, missing the record by 0:00.98. He also took first in the 200 IM with a 1:51.18.

Vickers was also a major reason Cleveland State dominated four relay events - as the Vikings cruised to wins in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:22.82), the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:02.03), the 800-yard freestyle relay (6:45.72) and the 400-yard medley relay (3:23.08). All but the 800 are new Cleveland State records. In addition, his lead-off leg of :45.14 in the 400-yard free relay set a new school record for the 100 free.

Joining Vickers on all four winning relays was junior Brett Thomas (Berea, Ohio/Berea). Thomas also nabbed a second 50-yard freestyle with a 20.85.

Senior co-captain, Gustavo Barrios (Panama City, Panama/The Kiski School), did his part, swimming on the 200-free relay, the 400-free relay, and the 400-medley relay.

Swimming on the 400-medley relay and taking second in the 200-yard backstroke (1:53.43) was sophomore Lyle Wilkens (Bloemfontein, South Africa/Bloemfontein).

Junior Stanimir Kachakov (Velingrad, Bulgaria/Vassil Levski) swam on the 200- and 400-free relays.

Although just a freshman, Gabriel Linton (Nora, Sweden/Rudbecksskolan) took second in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 57.79.

Sophomore diver Chris Jones (Brookpark, Ohio/Berea) took third in the 1-meter (277.70) and 3-meter events (475.40).

In all, every Viking swimmer scored.

Head coach Wally Morton had his sights set on a first-place finish at the Horizon Championships, but taking second with a team loaded with talented underclassmen has Morton looking forward to next year already.