Swimming and Diving to Host Niagara

Swimming and Diving to Host Niagara

Jan. 22, 2008

Contact: Gene Natale, Jr.

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Cleveland State Swimming & Diving
Dual Meet 11 - vs. Niagara

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2008
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
Site: Busbey Natatorium, Cleveland, Ohio
Event: Alumni Day

SETTING THE SCENE: The men's and women's swimming and diving teams return home to host Niagara at Busbey Natatorium on Saturday, Jan. 26. The meet will begin with diving events at 12:00 p.m. followed by swimming events at 1:00 p.m. EST.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK: The swim teams competed against Wright State in a dual meet at WSU Natatorium. Here is a brief look at how the Vikings fared over the weekend.

Men - WSU 136, CSU 87 (Jan. 19th, in Dayton, Ohio)
Dan Baiko won both the 1-meter (288.15) and 3-meter (330.6) dives for the sixth time this season, and the team got wins from Deni Gasparin (200 breaststroke, 2:08.49) and Jakub Dobies (200 IM, 1:57.26) but it was not enough to defeat last year's Horizon League champion team as the Vikings lost, breaking a four meet win streak.

Women - WSU 143, CSU 74 (Jan. 19th, in Dayton, Ohio)
Trish Simon won the 1-meter dive (200.92) with one of her best scores of the season, while Katie Bellew scored second place finishes in both the 200 fly (2:14.1) and 200 breast (2:34.13). Several other Vikings scored second place finishes, but in the end it was not enough to defeat Wright State.

PREVIEWING THE WOMEN'S TEAM: The CSU women hope that their experience and skill they have shown will help them to improve on a sixth place showing at the Horizon League Championship last season. With a core of four seniors leading the way, improving every week is going to be crucial. Seniors Lesley Jones, Deanna Raedel, and Trish Simon lead the team in six events and set the stage for the team. Jones competes well in the freestyle events, topping the team in the 50, 100, and 200 free as the team's top sprinter, while Raedel contributes to the freestyle with the second best times in the 50 and 100. She also has the top times in the breaststroke events. Simon, meanwhile, is typically the team's only entrant in the diving events. She has been improving every week, scoring her first victory of the season at Wright State (12/19). Meanwhile, senior Alex Bagi helps provide depth in the freestyle events and has been called upon frequently to contribute her talents to the relays. Junior Katie Bellew, who is the school record holder in the 100 fly (57.50), has the team's season best times in the 100 (1:00.18) and 200 fly (2:14.20), as well as the second best times in the breaststroke events and the 200 IM (2:18.34). She headlines a junior class that is really coming into its own. The sisters Kristine and Sandra Bunker give the team a boost in the freestyle and individual medley events. Kristine's best time in the 100 butterfly (1:00.78) is nearly as fast as Bellew's in the event, and her efforts in that event and the 200 fly provide crucial depth. The team counts on freshmen Erin Green and Frances Carrion to lead the squad 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 top time in the 500 free (5:18.64).

MORTON ON THE CSU WOMEN: "The women have been working very hard, and this is what we need as we get closer to the Horizon Championship."

PREVIEWING THE MEN'S TEAM: The CSU men's squad seeks to win a league championship this year after finishing second in the conference last season. A core of eight seniors provide solid leadership to a team that is helped immensely by its talented younger contributors, with sophomore Jakub Dobies leading the way. Dobies was voted the newcomer of the year at the league championship last season after winning the 100 and 200 breaststroke, setting school and meet records in the process. He continues to improve and currently leads the Vikings with the team's top times in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle, 100 and 200 breaststroke, and 200 IM. His school record in the 100 breaststroke (53.77) is one that will likely be broken yet again by the talented athlete, and he continues to improve his 200 breaststroke time, as he broke his own school record with the 2:00.43 he swam at Miami. Another underclassman contributing well for Cleveland State is Todd Winchell, who leads the team in the backstroke events. Winchell, who also has the team's top 100 butterfly time (49.71, at the Miami Invite), leads the team in the 50 and 100 backstroke with his season best times of 23.97 (set vs. Ohio State) and 51.19 (at the Miami Invite). With a strong core of seniors including Dan Baiko, Stef Potgieter, and Nedim Nisic, the team has the talent and experience needed to put Cleveland State back on top at the Horizon League Championships this season. Baiko leads the team in the diving events, while Potgieter gives the Vikings a nice one-two punch in the breaststroke events. Nisic, meanwhile, provides stability to the team's butterfly events, with the team's second best times in both the 100 and 200 fly. 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).

MORTON ON THE CSU MEN: "We've been training very hard with a goal in mind. We want to get ready for our league championship."

FOUR TIMES THE CHARM: Sophomore Jakub Dobies won his fourth career swimmer of the week honor following his sensational performances at the Miami (OH) Invitational. Dobies, the reigning Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, leads the conference with top times in four different events. He has won 7 individual events in the season's first nine competitions and posted a couple of the nation's best times with his performances in the 200 (2:00.43) and 100 (54.03) breaststroke at Miami. He has shown improvement with every meet and still has room to improve on his 100 breast time, as his current season best remains short of the school record time of 53.77 which he set last year at the Horizon League Championships.

WINCHELL WILL WIN: Sophomore Todd Winchell leads the team in both the 100 yard butterfly (49.71) and 100 backstroke (51.19).

ELGAMAL WILL GO LONG: Senior Khaled Elgamal is the team's best pure distance swimmer, and has been showing signs of improvement lately. He posted a personal best in the 1,000 freestyle (9:52.54) at Wright State (Jan. 19).

JONES LEADS THE WAY: Lesley Jones has become a very reliable option in the freestyle events, as her performance at the Miami Invite has proven. In addition to being the highest individual placer for the Vikings at Miami, she now holds the team's top times in the 50 (24.53), 100 (53.18), and 200 freestyle (1:58.90). Jones seems to save her best performances for the bigger competitions, as she posted previous season highs earlier in the year in a dual meet against reigning women's league champion Green Bay (Oct. 27) in the 50 (25.38) and 100 freestyle (54.75), good for second in each event at the meet.

FRESH FACED: The quad meet on Jan. 12 saw the Viking debut of Deni Gasparin, who comes to CSU from Croatia. With the addition of Gasparin, the Vikings now have three swimmers capable of swimming under 60 seconds in the 100 breaststroke in Gasparin, Dobies, and Stef Potgieter, setting things up well for the league championship.

DOUBLE BUNKER: Twin sisters Kristine and Sandra Bunker have impressed this season, leading 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).

EASY BAIKO: Senior Dan Baiko has been having an outstanding season, thus far. In six different occasions, he has won both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, and twice has been named Horizon League diver of the week. His best scores of 352.65 in the three and 296.40 in the one will make him difficult to beat at the league championship.

RAEDEL COMING ON STRONG: Senior Deanna Raedel paces the women's teams in the breaststroke events. Her top times in the 100 breast (1:09.33) and 200 breast (2:30.58) were both attained at the Miami (OH) Invitational on Nov. 29.

DOUBLE DUECKER: Dave Duecker has been having a solid season, continuing his improvements in the 500 and 1,000 free as well as in the individual medley events. He currently holds the season's top times in the 500, 1,000, and 400 IM, clocking in at 4:38.54, 9:50.09, and 4:01.84, respectively. After setting season bests in the 500 and 1,000 in early November, he was recognized as the Horizon League Swimmer of the Week (Nov. 7).

CHAMPIONSHIP AT OUR PLACE: The Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championship will return to the Busbey Natatorium in 2008. CSU last hosted the event in 2006, and this year the event will take place on Feb. 20-23. When CSU hosted the event in 2006, the men's team won the overall championship while sweeping the post-meet honors. Wally Morton was named coach of the year, Rich Karban was named diving coach of the year, Bjorn Schantz was swimmer of the year and Chris Dalman was diver of the year.

Wally Morton (Miami (OH) '70)
At CSU (as Men's Coach): 238-133 (27th Year)
          (as Women's Coach): 3-8 (1st Year)
Overall: Same as above

Morton, who is in his first season as the head coach of both the men's and women's teams, has led the Vikings to 12 Conference championships and 23 winning seasons in his 26 years at the helm of the men's program. Morton, who also serves as CSU's Director of Competitive Aquatics, has led the Vikings to six straight seasons of 10 or more dual meet victories and had a streak of four straight years for a Viking claiming the league's Male Swim Athlete of the Year Award, before it was broken last season.

UP NEXT: Both teams will be at home next week for Senior Day at Busbey Natatorium. The men will host UIC, while the women will host Youngstown State as well as UIC. The meet will be held on Sat. Feb 2 at 12:00 p.m. EST.