Feb. 23, 2006
CLEVELAND - The Viking men's swimming team used a pair of wins, including two school records and a championship mark, to build upon their lead in the Horizon League Championships on Thursday (Feb. 23). Meanwhile, the women's team made up for a lack of diving with strong times in the pool to maintain their fifth-place standing at Busbey Natatorium.
The men's squad added nearly 15 points to the advantage in the tournament, ending the second day of competition with 328 points, 59.5 points ahead of current runner-up Wright State. The women's squad holds a 38-point advantage over sixth-place Youngstown State with a score of 129.
Junior Bjorn Schantz began the evening in dominant fashion, breaking the Cleveland State and Horizon League 500 freestyle record with an NCAA B qualifying time of 4:24.65, nearly two seconds swifter than the previous mark of 4:26.10 set by Viking Henk Markgraaff in 2000. Senior Daniel Thomasson followed Schantz with a second-place time of 4:30.34.
The Vikings closed the night on a high note in the 400 medley relay, as Cleveland State jumped out to a decisive advantage thanks to a school-record 100 back time of 49.64 by senior Pieter Pelser. Sophomore Johan Norling closed the relay in 100 free, holding off a charging Elvis Cirikovic of Wright State for a time of 3:21.55.
"Bjorn is having an outstanding meet," men's head coach Wally Morton said. "He is establishing himself as one of the premier swimmers in the history of the league."
Pelser and freshman Nedim Nisic put up strong showings in the 200 IM, with the pair finishing fourth and fifth with times of 1:52.41 and 1:52.69, respectively. Sophomore Dave Duecker added a ninth-place time of 1:52.94.
"I think what I am impressed with the most so far is our enthusiasm as a team and our desire to win," Morton continued. "There are still two challenging days ahead of us, but we have put ourselves in a good position."
McKechnie began the evening by finishing first in the first finals heat, placing ninth overall with a season-best time of 5:08.14, the fifth-fastest time of the night. Bellew added a top mark in the 200 IM, swimming to a 10th-place finish in a time of 2:11.89.
The Vikings received additional help from junior Marianne Lionell, who placed eighth in the 50 free (24.52) and the 400 medley relay team of freshman Jen MacLauchlan, Lionell, Bellew and sophomore Lesley Jones, who swam to a fourth-place time of 3:58.41.
"We are swimming very well," women's head coach Mike Lehto said. "We had quite a few season's best times and personal bests. I think we all expected to swim well in our own pool.
"We're not in the place where we want to be as far as the standings go, but I think we have a couple of good days coming up with some of our girls that haven't competed."
The championships continue on Friday (Feb. 24) with swimming prelims at 10:30 a.m., diving prelims at 3:00 p.m. and finals at 6:00 p.m. at Busbey Natatorium.
Wright State - 324.5
UW-Green Bay - 283
UW-Milwaukee - 275
UIC - 198.5
Cleveland State - 129
Youngstown State - 91
Butler - 79
Cleveland State - 328
Wright State - 268.5
UIC - 258
UW-Milwaukee - 192.5
UW-Green Bay - 185
Butler - 113