2008 Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championship Preview

2008 Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championship Preview

Feb. 18, 2008

Contact: Gene Natale, Jr.

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Meet 19
2008 Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships
Date: February 20-23, 2008
Time: 2:00 p.m. on Feb. 20, 10:30 a.m. from Feb. 21-23
Site: Robert F. Busbey Natatorium, Cleveland, Ohio
Radio: Live webstream available at CSUVikings.com through the Horizon League Network for all final heats.

SETTING THE SCENE: Cleveland State hosts the 2008 Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships from Feb. 20-23 at the Robert F. Busbey Natatorium. The men's team heads into the championship meet undefeated (10-0) this season at Busbey, and 11-4 (2-1 HL) overall. The women are 4-10 (0-5 HL).

RECAPPING LAST MEET: The CSU men hosted UIC, and the women hosted Youngstown State and UIC in dual meets at Busbey Natatorium on Feb. 2. Here is a brief look at how the Vikings fared in their last competitions.

Men (11-4) - CSU 146, UIC 92 (Feb. 2, at Busbey Natatorium)
The Vikings won 10 of 11 events to conclude the season a perfect 10-0 at home in dual meets. Dave Duecker won three swimming events and Dan Baiko won both diving events to lead the team. Duecker posted a personal best in the 1,000 free (9:43.41) to win. He followed that with a near-personal best (finishing first in 1:51.85) in the 100 butterfly, and ended his day with an exciting close win in the 500 free (4:43.81). Baiko had a personal best in the three-meter (347.20) in winning the event. He also won the one-meter (277.80).

Women (4-10) - UIC 141, CSU 83, Youngstown State 117, CSU 108 (Feb. 2nd, at Busbey Natatorium)
Katie Bellew led the way with wins in the 200 fly (2:12.61) and 200 breast (2:28.58). Both marks were season bests. Lesley Jones scored second place finishes in the 50 free (24.66) and 100 free (53.97). Only a second place finish in the 400 freestyle relay (Kristina Nagy, Alex Bagi, Deanna Raedel, Kristine Bunker, 3:45.01) prevented the Vikings from defeating Youngstown State in a close matchup.

PREVIEWING THE WOMEN'S TEAM: An experienced Viking team will attempt to improve upon last year's sixth place finish at the Horizon League Championship. Senior Lesley Jones leads the team in the 50 (24.53), 100 (53.18), and 200 free (1:58.90) as the team's top sprinter. Her 50 freestyle time is also the fourth fastest in the Horizon League this season. Junior Katie Bellew, who is the school record holder in the 100 fly (57.50, set during the 2005-06 season), has the team's season best times in the 100 (1:00.18) and 200 fly (2:14.20), as well as the 100 breaststroke (1:09.32). Bellew has also garnered Horizon League rankings in the 200 breast (seventh) and 200 fly (10th). Trisha Simon is the Vikings' lone diver, pacing the team in the one-meter dive with a season-best score of 213.65. Juniors Kristine and Sandra Bunker lead the team in several events. Kristine has the team's best times in the 100 backstroke (1:03.37) and 400 IM (4:50.10), while Sandra leads the Vikings in the 200 backstroke (2:15.70). Senior Deanna Raedel has the Vikings' second best times in the 50 free (25.78), 200 breaststroke (2:30.58), and the 100 breaststroke (1:09.33). The team relys upon freshmen Erin Green and Frances Carrion in the distance freestyle events. Green has the team's top times in the 1,000 (10:53.41) and 1,650 free (18.07.88), while Carrion has the team's best time in the 500 free (5:18.64).

MORTON ON THE CSU WOMEN: "I am really proud of our women. We went to the end of the meet with a chance to win against Youngstown State, and I am very confident that the women will all do very well at the Horizon League Championship.

LAST YEAR AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Cleveland State finished sixth overall (218 points) at last year's Horizon League Championship, held at UIC's Flames Natatorium. Marianne Lionell recorded the team's top individual finishes in the 50 free (seventh, 24.50) and 100 breast (seventh, 1:07.48). Green Bay (845 points) was the overall winner.

...AND LAST TIME AT BUSBEY: When Cleveland State hosted the championship meet in 2006, the women's team set a school record with 358.5 team points. Then-freshman Katie Bellew was the top individual performer for the Vikings with second place finishes in both the 100 fly (57.50, a school record) and 200 fly (2:08.92). Green Bay (805 points) was overall champion.

PREVIEWING THE MEN'S TEAM: The CSU men's squad seeks to win the league championship this year after finishing second at the Horizon League Championship last season. Last year's Horizon League newcomer of the year Jakub Dobies leads the way for the Vikings. He currently holds NCAA "B" qualifying marks in the 100 (54.03) and 200 breaststroke (2:00.43). Dobies leads the Horizon League in both events, and also has the league's top 100 freestyle time (44.62). CSU may have another candidate for the newcomer award this season in Deni Gasparin. After joining the team in early January, Gasparin won at least one event in each of his first three meets. His best time in the 100 breast (56.64) was immediately the second best time on the team and in the Horizon League. Another important contributor to the team is Todd Winchell, who has a league-best time in the 100 backstroke (51.19). Senior Dave Duecker is another swimmer to watch, as he has the team's top times in the 400 IM (4:01.84), 500 free (4:38.54), and the 200 butterfly (1:51.64). Senior Dan Baiko, the Vikings' lone diver, leads the Horizon League with a season-best mark of 352.20 in the three-meter. His season-best score of 296.40 in the one-meter is third best in the league. Sophomore Stephen Grove leads the sprint freestyle corps with a season-best time of 21.11 in the 50 free. Co-captain Stef Potgieter's best times of 57.79 in the 100 breast and 2:05.23 are third best for the Vikings and in the Horizon League. The final important component to the Vikings' success is the team depth. This is displayed by the fact that the team leads the Horizon League with the best times in three out of the five relay events, the 400 free relay (Dobies, Grove, Winchell, Marko Milenkovic, 3:03.49), 200 medley relay (Winchell, Dobies, Grove, Milenkovic, 1:32.61) and the 400 medley relay (Zvonimir Androic, Winchell, Dobies, Grove, 3:22.80).

MORTON ON THE CSU MEN: "We go into our championship meet with the idea that we will compete to win. We must work on our race pace and rest up. If we have a good attitude we will succeed.

LAST TIME AT BUSBEY: Cleveland State last hosted the Horizon League Championship in 2006. That year, the men's team won the overall championship (784 points, while Wright State was second with 688) while sweeping the post-meet honors. Wally Morton was named coach of the year and Rich Karban was named diving coach of the year, Bjorn Schantz was named swim athlete of the year and the outstanding swimmer of the meet, and Thatcher Carr was diver of the year. ...AND

LAST YEAR AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The Vikings finished second (700.5 pts.) at last year's Horizon League Championship to Wright State (782 pts.). Jakub Dobies was named the Newcomer of the Year after setting league, meet, and school records in winning the 100 breaststroke (53.77) and 200 breast (2:00.92). Chris Dalman was named diver of the meet after winning both the one (341.85) and three-meter (368.65) dives. Rich Karban was named diving coach of the year for the fourth straight year.

ONE FOR THE AGES: Jakub Dobies has set three school records this season, in the 50 free (20.70), 100 free (44.62), and 200 breaststroke (2:00.43). He also holds the school record in the 100 breaststroke (53.77, set last season). Last year he was the first Viking and Horizon League swimmer in 20 years to swim at the NCAA Championship, where he competed in the 100 breaststroke, finishing 28th overall (54.39).

...MORE ON DOBIES: Dobies has set two NCAA "B" qualifying marks this season. His 100 breast time of 54.03 is currently the eighth best time in the nation. His 200 breast time of 2:00.43 is a Horizon League record and the 28th best nationally. As currently ranked, he would make the cut to represent Cleveland State on the national stage in both events.

QUITE HONORABLE: Senior diver Dan Baiko has won Horizon League diver of the week honors five times this season. His most recent honor was achieved after he won both the one and three meter boards against UIC (Feb. 2) with respective scores of 277.20 and 347.20.

ELGAMAL WILL GO LONG: Senior Khaled Elgamal competes primarily in the distance freestyle events. He holds the Vikings' best time in the 1,650 free (16:55.50) and second best times in the 1,000 (9:52.54) and 500 free (4:44.87)

FRESH FACED: Freshman Deni Gasparin made his Viking debut in CSU's Jan. 12 quad meet midway through the season. Gasparin, who is from Zagreb, Croatia, proceeded to win his first race, the 100 breaststroke (56.64). In only four meets he has the team's second best times in three events, the 100 breast, 200 breast (2:04.29), and 200 IM (1:55.58).

W FOR WINCHELL: Sophomore Todd Winchell leads the team and the Horizon League in the 100 backstroke (51.19). He also has the Vikings' best time in the 100 butterfly (49.71).

BREASTSTROKING WELL: Jakub Dobies, Deni Gasparin, and Stef Potgieter collectively have the top three times in the Horizon League this season in both the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke. Dobies leads the way (54.03 in the 100, 2:00.43 in the 200), followed by Gasparin (56.64 in the 100, 2:04.29 in the 200), and Potgieter (57.79 in the 100, 2:05.23 in the 200).

BLACK AND DUECKER: Dave Duecker has the team's best times in four different events, including the 500 free (4:38.54), 1,000 free (9:43.41), 200 fly (1:51.64) and 400 IM (4:01.84). His 200 fly and 400 IM times are each the third best in the Horizon League.

ELGAMAL WILL GO LONG: Senior Khaled Elgamal competes primarily in the distance freestyle events. He holds the Vikings' best time in the 1,650 free (16:55.50) and second best times in the 1,000 (9:52.54) and 500 free (4:44.87)

JONES LEADS THE WAY: Lesley Jones leads the women's team in several events. The senior's season best time of 24.53 in the 50 free is a team best and ties her for fourth in the Horizon League. She also leads the Vikings in the 100 (53.18) and 200 free (1:58.90).

...AND LEADING OTHER CATEGORIES: Katie Bellew has the team's top times in the 100 fly (1:00.18), 200 fly (2:12.61), 100 breast (1:09.32), and 200 breast (2:28.50). She is also the school record holder in the 100 butterfly (57.50, set during the 2005-06 season).

DOUBLE BUNKER: Twin sisters Kristine and Sandra Bunker lead the team in several events. Kristine has the top time in the 100 backstroke (1:03.37) and 400 IM (4:50.10), while Sandra tops the Vikings in the 200 backstroke (2:15.70).

SIMON SAYS: Senior Trisha Simon has improved dramatically over her best performance of 137.05 of a year ago in the one-meter dive. She set a new career high this season at the City College Meet, 213.65. Lately she has been diving well, scoring her first win in the one-meter in a dual meet against Wright State (200.92, Jan. 19). She is in only her second year of diving following a background in gymnastics.

RAEDEL COMING ON STRONG: Senior Deanna Raedel has the team's second best times in the 50 free (25.78), 100 free (56.66), 100 breast (1:09.33), and 200 breast (2:30.58).

MEN'S & WOMEN'S HEAD COACH:
Wally Morton (Miami (OH) '70)
At CSU (as Men's Coach): 249-133 (27th Year)
           (as Women's Coach): 4-10 (1st Year)
Overall: Same as above

Wally Morton has led the Vikings to 12 conference championships and 21 winning seasons in his 27 years at the helm of the men's program. Morton has guided the Vikings to seven straight seasons of 10 or more dual meet victories, and a Viking has won the male swimmer of the year award in four of the last five seasons. Morton has taken over as the head women's coach this season, his first at the helm of both the men's and women's programs. Morton also serves as the school's director of competitive aquatics, and has been with CSU, in all, for 32 years.

UP NEXT: Those Vikings who qualify will represent the school at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships from March 27-29 at the University of Washington's Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.