Feb. 27, 2008
Contact: Gene Natale, Jr.
OFF THE BLOCKS: Cleveland State men's and women's swimming and diving wrapped up the 2007-08 season at the Horizon League Championships on Saturday, Feb. 23. Here is a brief look at how the Vikings fared at the league championships:
Men (11-4) - 2nd, 643 points (Feb. 20-23, at Busbey & Ocasek Natatoriums)
The Vikings concluded a spectacular week at the Horizon League Championships with a team runner-up finish. Four Vikings received post-meet honors, including Jakub Dobies (co-athlete of the year), Deni Gasparin (newcomer of the year), Danny Baiko (diver of the year) and Rich Karban (diving coach of the year). The team set six school records, three Horizon League and meet records, and two pool records at Ocasek Natatorium.
Women (4-10) - 7th, 187 points (Feb. 20-23, at Busbey/Ocasek Natatoriums)
Senior Lesley Jones led all Vikings with 20 points scored, recording the team's top individual finishes in the 50 free (eighth, 20.41) and 100 free (ninth, 53.02). All five Viking relays recorded season-best times, and Jones swam on four of those teams. Deanna Raedel (12th, 200 breast, 2:30.20) and Katie Bellew (11th, 100 fly, 59.17) each contributed top Viking finishes in the breaststroke and butterfly events. Senior Trisha Simon dove her second best lifetime score in the one-meter (197.65), finishing 13th overall.
WOMEN'S 2007-08 SEASON REVIEW: The 2007-08 season was Wally Morton's first at the helm of both the men's and women's programs. Wins did not come easy for an undermanned Viking team this year, as the team finished with a 4-10 overall record (0-5 HL). Despite the team's record, the swimmers and divers continually improved their times week by week, culminating with the team's performance at the league championship. In all, 26 season-best times were recorded at the championship meet, and according to Morton, "everyone had at least one top time this week." Lesley Jones finished her Viking career with the fifth-best 50 free time (24.41 on Feb. 21) and 100 free times (53.02 on Feb. 23) in school history. Freshmen Erin Green and Frances Carrion recorded the eighth and ninth-best times in school history in the 1,650 free (18:03.89 and 18:04.85, respectively) on the meet's final day. In addition, Deanna Raedel finished with the eighth-best ime in the 100 breast (1:08.95). Katie Bellew may not have improved upon her school record time in the 100 fly (57.50 in 2006) at the league championships, but earlier in the year she set the eighth-best time in the 200 fly (2:12.61, Feb. 2). She also holds the sixth best 200 breast time (2:28.23, 2005), and the eighth best 200 IM time (2:11.89, 2006). Senior Trisha Simon completed her short one-and-a-half year career with the Vikings by improving her top score in the one-meter to 213.65 (Nov. 13). Last season her top score was 137.05, which she dove at the 2007 league championships. With the team losing three of its top contributors in Jones, Raedel, and Simon, Morton is likely encouraged by the improvement of his younger swimmers throughout the season. Junior Kristina Nagy recorded a lifetime best of 25.61 in the 50 free at the championship meet, and will be the top returner in that event next season. Freshman Diana Mruk showed vast improvement on her times at the league championship as well, improving her previous best 100 free time (59.66) by four seconds with a time of 55.86 on the meet's final day. Mruk will be the team's top returner in the 100 free next season.
MORTON ON THE CSU WOMEN: "The women have been outstanding this year and have represented the school well. They put in hard work every week, and everyone had at least one top time at the championship. I am very proud of our women swimmers and our diver."
MEN'S 2007-08 SEASON REVIEW: The 2007-08 season was another winning campaign, as the Vikings won at least 10 dual meets for the seventh year in a row. The team followed up the regular season with a runner-up finish at the league championships. That finish may have been different had the meet been contested at Busbey all four days, since the Vikings were a perfect 10-0 in home duals. Highlights from the season include the myriad of mid-season and post-season awards the Vikings garnered throughout the year. Stephen Grove first won one of two straight Horizon League Male Scholar Athlete of the Week (Oct. 30) awards after winning two events in the Green Bay dual meet and maintaining a 3.82 GPA. On Oct. 31, Dan Baiko won his first of five diver of the week honors, and then went on to win diver of the year honors at the league championships. On Nov. 7, Dave Duecker was named league swimmer of the week. Jakub Dobies then won swimmer of the week for the next three weeks in a row. Dobies finished the season at the league championships tied with Wright State's Nathan Demchuk and Green Bay's Alex Hill for the most individual points scored, earning him co-athlete of the year honors with Demchuk. Dobies now has school records in the 100 (53.77) and 200 (2:00.43) breast and the 100 free (44.62). Dobies also set the school's second best times in the 50 free (20.70, on Dec. 1) and 200 IM (1:49.82, on Feb. 21) this season. The Vikings welcomed Deni Gasparin to the team in January. The freshman from Zagreb, Croatia finished the season as the second-best in school history by time in both the 100 (55.34) and 200 (2:01.02) breast. He also set the fifth-best time in school history in the 200 IM (1:51.26). Also making school history was Nedim Nisic, who set the fourth best time in school history in the 100 fly (49.26), and improved his 100 backstroke time (50.77), third-best in school history. Todd Winchell set the second-best time in the 100 back (49.31), sixth-best time in the 100 fly (49.30) and the seventh-best 200 back time (1:52.54). Dave Duecker and Stef Potgieter finished their Viking careers with several top-10 times of their own, as well. Duecker set the school record in the 400 IM (4:56.45), while Potgieter set the fifth-best 100 breast time (56.04) at the league championships. Duecker also set the fifth-best 200 fly time (1:50.74), and the Vikings' best 1,000 free time of the year (9:27.38).
MORTON ON THE CSU MEN: "It was a spectacular meet for the men. We didn't even have a full team this year, and to finish runner-up to Wright State, a well balanced team, is incredible. My hat is off to Wright State and their coaching staff. We have an outstanding senior class this year and it hurts to lose them."
SIX OF 12, NOT BAD: The Vikings ended last week with six swimmers in the top-twelve point scorers for the championship meet. Jakub Dobies (57 points) was in a three-way tie for first, followed by Deni Gasparin (fourth, 53 points), Stephen Grove (seventh, 51 points), Dave Duecker (10th, 48 points), Todd Winchell (10th, 48 points), and Nedim Nisic (12th, 46 points). No other school had more than four swimmers in the top 12 for the meet.
ONE FOR THE AGES: Jakub Dobies has set three school records this season, in the 50 free (20.70, broken by Stephen Grove on Feb. 21), 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 since Harold Wagner (100 fly, 1987) to swim at the NCAA Championship, where he competed in the 100 breaststroke, finishing 28th overall (54.39).
...AND AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Dobies excelled at the Horizon League Championships, winning the 100 breast (54.31) and 200 IM (1:53.34 in prelims, 1:49.82 in finals), and swimming on three winning relays. He also was runner-up in the 100 free (45.52). Each relay he was a part of (200 free, 200 medley, 400 free) set school, league, and meet records. He ended the week tied with Green Bay's Alex Hill and Wright State's Nathan Demchuk for the overall lead in points at the championship meet (57).
...MORE ON DOBIES: Dobies has set two NCAA "B" qualifying marks this season. His 100 breast time of 54.03 is currently the 13th best time in the nation. His 200 breast time of 2:00.43 is a Horizon League record and the 35th best nationally.
RECORD SETTING RELAYS: The Vikings set school, league, and meet records in three relays last week. The 200 free relay (Dobies, Stephen Grove, Deni Gasparin, Mike Marsico, 1:21.35) turned the trick in the meet's first swimming event. The 200 medley relay (Todd Winchell, Dobies, Johan Norling, Grove, 1:29.80) followed with another record time later that day. The final relay to finish in record time for the Vikings was the 400 medley relay (Winchell, Gasparin, Grove, Dobies, 3:18.55). Each relay was the overall event winner.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: Senior diver Dan Baiko has thus far duplicated Chris Dalman's season of a year ago, winning league diver of the week honors five times, winning both the one and three-meter boards at the league championships, and being named diver of the year. Baiko also set an Ocasek Natatorium record in the one-meter dive, scoring 322.65 in the win. While Dalman became the first CSU diver in 32 years to make the trip to the NCAA Championships last year, Baiko's season ended at the Zone C qualifying round a year ago (22nd in the three-meter, 260.75). Baiko will have another opportunity to make it to nationals at this year's Zone C qualifying round from March 14-16.
GROVE THE WORLD BEATER: Of the six school records set at the league championship, sophomore Stephen Grove had a hand in five of them. After helping the 200 free and 200 medley relay teams win in record-setting fashion, he set a school record in the prelims of the 50 free (20.41), winning the event with a time of 20.71 in the final heat. Later in the second day he swam on the record-setting 400 medley relay team (3:18.55). Grove then set yet another school record on the third day of competition, this time in the 100 fly (48.86). He finished second overall, and broke a record that had been in place for 21 years, the only Viking record that had been more than eight years old. The previous record holder, Harold Wagner, (48.89) swam at the NCAA Championships for the Vikings in 1987.
NEW, YET STRANGELY FAMILIAR: Freshman Deni Gasparin won newcomer of the year honors at the Horizon League Championships. His award marks the second straight year a Viking has received the honor. Like last year's honoree, Jakub Dobies, Gasparin joined the team in January and displayed high proficiency in the breaststroke events. Gasparin won the 200 breast (2:01.02) on the championship's final day, setting a new Ocasek Natatorium record in the process. He also was runner-up in the 100 breast (55.34), third in the 200 IM (1:51.21) and swam on the three record-setting Viking relay teams (200 free, 200 medley, 400 medley, all league champions). He also swam on the fifth-place 800 free relay (3:01.04).
DUECKER NEVER BETTER: After flirting with the school record in the 400 IM the past four years (coming within .5 of the previous record, 3:59.20, last season), senior Dave Duecker finally broke through at the Horizon League Championships, shattering the old record by three seconds and setting a new mark of 3:56.45. Duecker was finished second in the event by only two-tenths of a second to swimmer of the year Nathan Demchuk (of Wright State). Duecker was also second in the 1,000 free (9:27.38), and fifth in the 200 fly (1:50.74), and was on the fifth place 800 free relay (Winchell, Gasparin, Nisic, 6:49.66).
W FOR WINCHELL: Sophomore Todd Winchell also was a member of the three record setting Viking relays at the league championships. Individually, he won the 100 back (50.31), was fourth in the 100 fly (49.30), and sixth in the 200 back (1:52.54).
JONES LED THE WAY: Lesley Jones recorded season best times in the 50 free (eighth, 20.41) and 100 free (ninth, 53.02) at the league championships. She had the best showing at the championship meet by any on the women's team, leading the Vikings with 20 points scored throughout the week.
LEADING SEVERAL CATEGORIES: Katie Bellew finished 2008 with the Vikings' top times in the 100 fly (59.17), 200 fly (2:12.61), 200 breast (2:28.50), and 200 IM (2:18.34). She also scored nine points at the league championships, second-best on the team.
DOUBLE BUNKER: Twin sisters Kristine and Sandra Bunker led the team in several events in 2008. Sandra has the Vikings' top times in the 50 (30.84), 100 (1:01.96) and 200 back (2:14.90). Meanwhile, Kristine topped the Vikings in the 400 IM (4:50.10) this season.
SIMON SAYS: Senior Trisha Simon finished 13th (197.65) in the one-meter dive at the league championship, and dove 60 points better than she did at the championship a year ago (15th, 131.35) in her first semester as a diver. Simon only started diving in January of last season, and had a background in gymnastics before picking up diving.
SHE'S GOING THE DISTANCE: Freshmen Erin Green and Frances Carrion became the eighth and ninth-best swimmers in school history in the 1,650 free in 2008. Both times (18.03.89 and 18:04.85) were achieved at the league championships.
RAEDEL BROUGHT HER BEST: Senior Deanna Raedel swam her best times in her last meet as a Viking at the league championships, including a 2:30.20 in the 200 breast (12th overall) and a 1:08.95 in the 100 breast (13th overall).
MEN'S & WOMEN'S HEAD COACH:
Wally Morton (Miami (OH) '70)
At CSU (as Men's Coach): 241-133-1 (27th Year)
(as Women's Coach): 4-10-0 (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 six 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 for 32 total years.
UP NEXT: Dan Baiko will attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the Zone C Diving NCAA Championship Prelims at Ohio State University from March 14-16.