Swimming & Diving Signs Nine Student-Athletes for 2008-09

Swimming & Diving Signs Nine Student-Athletes for 2008-09

May 15, 2008

Contact: Greg Murphy

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A total of 10 student-athletes, including three from Northeast Ohio, have signed national letters of intent to join the Cleveland State swimming and diving program beginning in the fall of 2008.

CSU Director of Competitive Aquatics Wally Morton made the announcement on Wednesday (May 14) afternoon.

Signing with the Viking women's squad are Rachel Arzadon (Lorton, Va./South County Secondary), Maria Culjak (Zagreb, Croatia/Gimnazija), Kacey Cummings (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington), Whitney Hickey (Hilton, N.Y./Hilton Central), Emily Splain (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake) and Brittany Tweardy (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria Catholic).

"This is a very talented class which will give us a lot of depth in both the swimming and diving events," Morton said. "All of our signees are excellent students and athletes and I feel that this is a step in the right direction for the women's program."

Joining the CSU men's team will be Mark deSwardt (Durban, South Africa/Westville), Keith Everhart (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria Catholic), Colin Hanner (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) and Pieter Ritz (Fort Myers, Fla./Cypress Lake).

"We had an outstanding group of seniors that we lost to graduation and this class will allow us to fill areas of need and give us a lot of depth and balance in many events," Morton said. "We understand that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but feel that there is an excellent core group to build around."

Brief biographies of the 10 signees follow.

Rachel Arzadon • Breaststroke and IM
Lorton, Va./South County Secondary
Junior Nationals qualifier
Virginia State Qualifier all four years in high school, first swimmer in school history to accomplish the feat
SGA leadership program member
Cum Laude Honor Roll member

Maria Culjak • Sprint free
Zagreb, Croatia/Gimnazija
Multiple junior national champion in 2006 and 2007
Croatia National Team member
European junior championship semi-finalist
Senior national champion in 2007
Team Captain

Kacey Cummings • Diving
Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington
State Meet finalist

Whitney Hickey • Free, Fly, Back
Hilton, N.Y./Hilton Central
Four-time State Qualifier
Three-time MVP and two-year captain

Emily Splain • Free, Back
Westlake, Ohio/Westlake
Two-year state qualifier
HS All American consideration in 2008
"Volunteer of the Year" award recipient

Brittany Tweardy • Sprint free
Elyria, Ohio/Elyria
Three-year All-Ohio honoree

Mark deSwardt • Free, Fly
Durban, South Africa/Westville
FINA World Cup finalist
South African Olympic Trials finalist
Member of South African open water teams

Keith Everhart • Sprint free
Elyria, Ohio/Elyria Catholic
Two-time state qualifier
Six-time school record holder

Colin Hanner • Fly, Back
Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore
Two-time state qualifier
Team captain and MVP as a senior
USA Sectional Champ, summer 07

Pieter Ritz • Free, Fly
Fort Myers, Fla./Cypress Lake
Florida Class 2A state finalist in the 500 yard freestyle (8th), and the 100 yard butterfly (11th) in 2007
Qualified for the Class 2A state finals in 2005 (500 yd. free), 2006 (500 free, 200 free), and 2007, with two 9th place finishes at the Class 2A Regional meet as a freshman in 2004, just missing finals
Named to the Fort Myers News-Press All Area Swim Team in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 and has been recognized by the Naples Daily News All Area Prep teams