Kevin Rapien is entering his seventh season on the Cleveland State coaching staff in 2018-19.
Rapien helped the Vikings to one of the most successful seasons in his tenure in the 2017-18 campaign.
The CSU women took third place with 586 points at the Horizon League Championships, finishing only seven points behind the runner-up. The Vikings improved two spots from the previous season, and four places in two years, while finishing three positions higher than projected in the preseason poll. The Cleveland State women broke school records in nine of the 18 swimming events at the 2018 League meet.
Leading that record-breaking effort was Molly McNamara, who took home impressive hardware with Rapien’s assistance. McNamara was named the Horizon League Women’s Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year, the first Viking to win that honor in over a decade. She was also named HL Female Scholar-Athlete of the 2017-18 Winter Season. McNamara broke school records in all three of her individual events at the HL Championships, became just the third woman this century to sweep butterfly titles at a League meet and also broke a League record.
Rapien helped the CSU men to a strong runner-up finish with 665.5 points in 2018, as the Viking men surpassed NCAA standards in eight different events at the League Championships. Both the men’s and women’s point totals from the League meet were the highest in five years.
Rapien made an immediate impact upon arrival at CSU as he helped the Vikings to the Horizon League men’s title in 2013, the program’s first in seven years. He also guided the women’s program to a runner-up finish at the league championships the same year and has helped the men’s program to four runner-up finishes in his tenure.
Rapein has helped the Viking men sweep Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year and the Swimmer of the League Championships honors in four of his six years on staff. He helped Philipp Sikatzki to the highest accolade in program history when he earned First Team All-America accolades with a fourth-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Championships in the 100 Butterfly. Sikatzki qualified for NCAA’s for a second consecutive season in 2017 and was the top finisher in the butterfly that did not hail from a Power Five school.
Sikatzki was one of three Viking swimmers to post a NCAA qualifying standard during the 2016-17 season. Those three student-athletes combined to surpass NCAA standards in eight different events.
Rapien helped his student-athletes to 10 school-record performances during the 2016-17 season. At the 2017 League Championships, the CSU men swept the breaststroke events for the first time in seven years while Molly McNamara’s record effort in the 200 butterfly saw CSU break a 17-year title drought in that event.
Rapien has assisted his student-athletes in securing 40 conference titles (individual or relay races) at CSU. He also helped McNamara to Horizon League Women’s Freshman of the Year honors in 2016.
Prior to arriving at Cleveland State, Rapien spent the prior two seasons as the Head Assistant Swim Coach at the University of North Dakota. While at North Dakota, Rapien was the distance coach as well as recruiting coordinator for the program. In 2011-12, he coached three Division I ‘B’ standards and helped swimmers break three school records in distance races.
Prior to working at the University of North Dakota, Rapien spent one season as an Assistant Swim Coach at Delta State University. While at Delta State he was the sprint group coach, helping guide 18 student athletes to the NCAA Division II Championships.
As a swimmer, Rapien was a four-time letterwinner and team captain from 2005-2007 at Ashland University.