Feb. 25, 2010
Contact: Renee Adam
Chicago, Ill. - Four Horizon League titles, two NCAA "B" cut times and three pool records led the way for the Cleveland State swimming and diving team to finish day one of the Horizon League Championships in first place with 142 points.
"We had a great night during the first session of the championships," head coach Wally Morton said. "I am very pleased with where we are and how we swam today. We came in swimming well and everyone was confident with all of their events. This is only the first session, so we need to maintain focus and concentrate on the ability to hold up over the next few days."
The Vikings got off to a hot start, winning the 200 free relay in a time of 1:21.28, the best time of the season and also an NCAA "B" cut time, which would allow them to go to the NCAA Championships if not enough "A" cuts are set this season. Stephen Grove was the lead off for the relay, recording a 20.73, the fastest 50 free relay split of the season. Keith Everhart was next up with a 20.32 with Mike Marsico swimming third (20.23). Berry Thompson anchored the relay finishing his 50 free in 20 seconds flat, bringing home CSU's first win of the night.
Mark deSwardt defended his 2009 Horizon League title in the 1,000 free, winning the event in his best time of the year, 9:13.40, beating out Milwaukee's Zacary Kraai by more than nine seconds.
After finishing the 3-meter prelims in third place with a score of 286.30, Josh Gonzalez stepped up in the finals, winning the event with a score of 303.30. Gonzalez beat out the defending Horizon League champion, Daniel Pogue from Green Bay, who finished third.
"Josh had some rough patches during the prelims, but he came back with fire during the finals and recorded some of his best dives," head diving coach Rich Karban said. "He kept pushing through all of his dives and was able to block out everything else around him and focus on what he had to do. This is great for him going into the 1-meter and also for his confidence the rest of his career."
Matt DiMasso also scored points for the Vikings in the 3-meter board, finishing 14th with a score of 214.25.
The Vikings ended the evening on a high note, earning the league crown in the 200 medley relay, in NCAA "B" cut fashion, finishing in 1:29.29. Todd Winchell led off, recording a 23.60 50 back, while Jakub Dobies swam the breast split in 24.23. Stephen Grove swam the fly portion in 21.52, and Thompson bested his earlier 50 free split, finishing in 19.94.
CSU broke two UIC Natatorium records tonight in the 1,000 free and the 200 medley relay. deSwardt broke his own record of 9:13.74 that he set last year, and the 200 medley team bested the record set by CSU in 2007 of 1:30.91.
The Vikings ended day one in first place with 142 points with Milwaukee close on their heels with 131 points. UIC (129), Green Bay (120), Wright State (116) and Valparaiso (52) round out the rest of the standings.
Horizon League Championship action continues tomorrow, with prelims beginning at 11:30 a.m. EST and finals beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST. Fans can watch the finals action live via live streaming on the Horizon League network, and can also follow along with the Horizon League's live blog.