Feb. 24, 2006
CLEVELAND - Seniors Thatcher Carr, Pieter Pelser and Daniel Thomasson each picked up wins as the Cleveland State men's swimming & diving team sits on the verge of the Horizon League Championship after a strong third day of competition (Feb. 24). The Vikings (579 points) hold a 67.5 point advantage over second-place and reigning league champion Wright State (511.5) heading into the final day of the tournament at Busbey Natatorium.
CSU headed into the session with a 60 point advantage on the Raiders, but Wright State cut into the Vikings' lead thanks to a 1-2-3 finish in the 400 IM. Thomasson, however, turned the momentum back in CSU's favor with a win in the 200 freestyle.
After trailing the Raiders' Will Ehresman by nearly a second with 50 yards remaining, Thomasson roared back with down the stretch to set a personal-best 1:39.87 for the victory.
The Raiders responded again with a win in the 100 breaststroke, bringing them to within 21.5 points of the Vikings at 485-463.5, but Wright State would get no closer as CSU slammed the door shut with wins in the final three events.
Pelser answered first in the 100 backstroke, topping his school-record with a time of 49.58 for the win. It was the second time in the tournament that he has topped his 100 backstroke mark after swimming to a 49.64 in the lead leg of the 400 medley relay on Thursday (Feb. 23).
CSU added to their advantage thanks to another dominant performance by the diving team, with Carr and sophomore Chris Dalman going 1-2 on the three-meter boards. Sophomores Dan Baiko (8th) and George Chesney (11th) also aided the cause as the divers collected 54 team points in the event.
"As a whole, this was a great performance by our divers," head diving coach Rich Karban said. "To be able to go 1-2-3 on Wednesday on the one meter - the first time that has happened in a tournament in the history of the program - and then come back today and put up this strong of a showing is excellent."
With an electric atmosphere inside the natatorium for the final event of the night, the 800 freestyle relay team sent the CSU crowd home happy, topping the Horizon League Championship record with a time of 6:41.87. Junior Bjorn Schantz put an exclamation point on the achievement, swimming perhaps the most dominant 200 yards in league history with a final leg of 1:37.57.
"Coming in, we felt like this would not be one of our strongest days of competition, but we came out and turned it into one of our best," men's head coach Wally Morton said. "We are very excited about where we stand right now, but by no means do we have this tournament won. We have to continue to be consistent in all of our swims, as we have been in the last few days. We are very aware of how hard it is to win a championship."
Sophomores Dave Duecker and Nedim Nisic added fourth-place finishes in the 400 IM (4:08.26) and 100 fly (49.86), respectively, while freshman Stef Potgieter notched a fourth-place showing of his own in the 100 breaststroke (57.68).
The Horizon League Championship concludes tomorrow (Feb. 25) with swimming preliminaries at 10:30 a.m., women's diving prelims at 3:00 p.m. and finals at 6:00 p.m. at Busbey Natatorium.
Cleveland State - 579
Wright State - 511.5
UIC - 474.5
UW-Green Bay - 388
UW-Milwaukee - 356
Butler - 153