Men's Swimming And Diving Returns To Action

Men's Swimming And Diving Returns To Action

Jan. 6, 2010

Contact: Renee Adam

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SETTING THE SCENE: The men's and women's swimming and diving teams will travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico to take part in the Holiday Invitational on Saturday (Jan. 9), marking the first time the Vikings will compete during the new year.

REVIEWING THE LAST TIME OUT: The men's and women's squads were both handed their first dual meet losses since October, when they fell at Ohio State (Nov. 24) behind a combined four individual victories.

MEN (10-2): Ohio State 120, CSU 73 (Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 24)
Mark deSwardt and Jakub Dobies recorded the lone individual victories during the meet, deSwardt in the 500 free (4:31.41) and Dobies in the 100 breast (55.74). The 800 free relay team of Alex Cohara, Brad Bielak, Mike Marsico and Pieter Ritz also posted a winning time of 7:31.02 while Dobies swam the fastest split of the meet during the 200 medley when he swam a 24.91.

WOMEN (9-3): Ohio State 128, CSU 68 (Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 24)
Joanna Olsson and Allison Pallija led the Vikings with two first place finishes, Olsson's coming in the 200 IM (2:07.59) and Pallija's coming during the 100 breast (1:10.48). The 800 free relay team of Carys Behn, Jamie Puls, Emily Splain and Whitney Hickey finished in a time of 8:05.61, also taking home a first place finish. Behn placed second in the 100 free (53.02) while Alice Sommerville recorded two third place finishes in the 100 fly (57.34) and the 50 free (24.07).

Wally Morton (Miami, OH, '70)
AT CSU: as men's coach: 261-140-1 (29th year), as women's coach: 21-22-0 (3rd year)

THE MORTON FILE: Wally Morton is in his 29th season as the men's swimming and diving head coach and his third with the women's team. During his tenure with the Viking men, Morton's success has been backed up by a 261-140-1 dual meet record that includes nine Penn-Ohio Championships, a pair of MCC titles and one Horizon League Championship. In his second season at the helm of the women's program, the squad recorded the most dual wins since 2005-06, with swimmers earning podium finishes in three different events at the Horizon League Championships. Morton has led five swimmers to the NCAA Championships, including 2009 All-American Jakub Dobies. He has also coached swimmers that have reached the international stage, including Nedim Nisic, who competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Two more of Morton's swimmers have also gone on to be Olympic Trials finalists.

PREVIEWING THE WOMEN: Head coach Wally Morton and his staff have brought in an outstanding group of talented newcomers to join the returners from last year's squad that finished sixth at the Horizon League Championships, one of the best finishes in school history. The returning squad is comprised of one senior, three juniors and six sophomores, including the holders of all six school records that were set during 2009. The freshmen are making an impact on the CSU record books as three of the newcomers, Joanna Olsson, Alice Sommerville and Michelle Ferro, have recorded 15 all-time top-10 times this season. Sommerville has the team's top times in the 50 free (23.89), 100 free (52.04), 100 breast (1:05.83) and the 100 fly (57.34) while Olsson holds the top time in the 500 free (4:54.39), 1,000 free (10:19.16), 200 IM (2:05.31), 400 IM (4:22.99) and also the 200 fly (2:03.35), setting CSU records in the 1,000 free, 200 fly, 200 IM and the 400 IM. Ferro leads the team in backstroke and breaststroke events, having top times in the 100 (58.90) and 200 backstroke (2:06.89) and the 200 breast (2:27.07). Three-time individual school record holder, sophomore Carys Behn, has the team's best times in the 200 (1:52.23) and 1,650 free (17:49.72). Kacey Cummings paces the divers with 250.65 and 271.27 points in the 1-and 3-meter boards respectively. The sqaud has also set CSU records in the 400 free and the 400 medley relays. Sommerville, Behn, Olsson and Jamie Puls recorded the 400 free relay time of 3:31.24 and Ferro, Sommerville, Olsson and Behn recorded a 3:54.34 in the 400 medley relay.

PREVIEWING THE MEN: After a season in which the CSU men's swimming and diving team earned their first All-American, placed first in eight events at the Horizon League Championships and captured Swimmer of the Meet, Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, the Vikings are prepared to expand on their success with the addition of nine talented newcomers. The newcomers join three seniors, three juniors and six sophomores to complete the 2009-10 squad. 2009 All-American Jakub Dobies has control of the breaststroke events, recording top times in the 100 breast (55.72) and the 200 breast (2:04.82) at the TYR Invitational, while also setting a team best 45.21 in the 100 free. Sophomore Mark deSwardt returns after earning all three league honors for the Vikings last season; Swimmer of the Meet, Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, swimming top times in the 500 free (4:29.34), 1,000 free (9:16.07), 200 fly (1:50.65) and the 400 IM (3:57.85) and has recorded an NCAA "b" cut time in the 1,650 free (15:27.19). Senior Todd Winchell holds top times in two events this season, the 100 back (51.92) and the 100 fly (49.97). Juniors Zvonimir Androic and Deni Gasparin round out the veterans that hold this seasons top times, with a team best 1:52.92 in the 200 back for Androic, a 1:54.56 in the 200 IM for Gasparin. Berry Thompson is one of two Viking newcomers to post a top time this season, holding a 20.89 in the 50 free, while Pierre De Waal has recorded a 1:42.27 in the 200 free. Sophomore Josh Gonzalez has recorded the best scores for the divers in both the 1- and 3-meter diving events with 262.72 and 306.70 points respectively.

MAKING THE CUT: Mark deSwardt set the first NCAA "b" cut time of the season for the Vikings when he swam a 15:27.19 in the 1,650 free at the TYR Invitational (Nov. 20-22). With the time, deSwardt won the race, beating Charlie Rimkus from Northwestern by more than seven seconds.

CLIMBING THE RANKS: CSU continues to make an impact on the College Swimming Mid-Major poll as the men are once again at the number seven spot with 222.5 points, while the women are receiving votes, barely missing the top 25. The monthly poll was released on December 27, a month after the Vikings were last in action. The only other Horizon League school in the top 25 is Milwaukee, with the women's team coming in at No. 5 with 233.5 points.

LEAGUE SWEEP: The CSU men's and women's teams swept the weekly swimming honors three weeks in a row (Nov. 17, Nov. 24, Dec. 1), giving the Vikings a total of 10 awards this season, the second most out of the 10 Horizon League teams, behind Milwaukee, which has a combined 11 accolades this season. The 10 awards also marks the most in the past five seasons up to this point in the year. The Vikings are tied for the most individual winners, with seven different swimmers and divers earning the accolade. Milwaukee also has seven individual winners while UIC and Green Bay have each had five honorees and Wright State has had four.

OUTSTANDING OLSSON: After competing in six dual meets as a Viking, freshman Joanna Olsson has already compiled 15 individual victories and has set five program records. Olsson has set herself up to record the most dual meet victories in the past four seasons, quickly catching up with teammate Carys Behn who won 24 events during her freshman campaign. The two are also tied for the number of CSU records set during their freshmen campaigns with five, Olsson setting the 500 free, 1,000 free, 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM and Behn registering top times in the 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 free events last season.

DIVING DUO: Kacey Cummings and Josh Gonzalez are both in the top five in the league for the 1-meter and 3-meter events this season, just the second time in five years that both a men's and women's diver have represented CSU in the top five. Cummings is currently fourth in the 1-meter dive after scoring 247.42 points against Green Bay (10/24) and second in the 3-meter with 271.27 points that she posted during the City College Meet (11/10). Gonzalez leads the league in the 3-meter board after posting 306.70 points in the triple dual against Valparaiso, St. Bonaventure and Niagara (11/14) and is third in the 1-meter event with 273.60 points that he scored in his first meet as a Viking against Green Bay (10/24). Cummings was part of the last Viking duo to place in the top five, partnering with classmate Matt DiMasso last season.

RECORD WATCH: After recording a 20.89 in the 50 free against Valparaiso, Niagara and St. Bonaventure (11/14), Berry Thompson is the closest Viking on the men's side to setting a program record. He is just eight-tenths of a second shy of tying the 20.09 record which was set by Stephen Grove last season. Thompson is no stranger to setting records, after leaving Orange high with his name in the record books for the 50, 100 and 200 free and the 100 and 500 fly. Thompson would be the first freshman to set the record in over 30 years.

SAME RACE, NEW FACE: Of the 44 women's top times/scores this season, only 16 are held by swimmers and divers that registered top-three times and scores last season as well. That group is comprised of Carys Behn, Emily Splain, Rachel Arzadon, Whitney Hickey, Kacey Cummings and Liz Victor who compiled 15 marks last season. Twenty four of the 44 times this season have been set by six freshmen, showing the quality depth that the CSU squad has.

OLSSON AND deSWARDT NAMED ATHLETES OF THE MONTH: Freshman Joanna Olsson and sophomore Mark deSwardt were named the Cleveland State Athletes of the Month for November following their excellent performances over the past 30 days. deSwardt helped the Vikings go 8-1 during the month along with a fourth place finish at the TYR Invitational, while setting his first NCAA "b" cut time of the season in the 1,650 free. Olsson led the Vikings to a 9-1 record through November and a fourth place finish at the TYR Invitational while setting seven individual program records in four events, as well as taking part in two CSU relay record setting performances.

2009-10 HORIZON LEAGUE HONORS: Cleveland State has been honored 10 times by the Horizon League this season. The following CSU athletes have earned either swimmer of the week or diver of the week honors:
Alice Sommerville - Oct. 20 (Swimmer of the Week)
Kacey Cummings - Oct. 27 (Diver of the Week)
Jakub Dobies - Nov. 4 (Swimmer of the Week)
Josh Gonzalez - Nov. 4 (Diver of the Week)
Carys Behn - Nov. 17 (Swimmer of the Week)
Mark deSwardt - Nov. 17 (Swimmer of the Week)
Joanna Olsson - Nov. 24 (Swimmer of the Week)
Mark deSwardt - Nov. 24 (Swimmer of the Week)
Joanna Olsson - Dec. 1 (Swimmer of the Week)
Jakub Dobies - Dec. 1 (Swimmer of the Week)

BESTING THE BEST: Ten veterans have topped their personal best times this season, Carys Behn, Kacey Cummings, Whitney Hickey and Liz Victor on the women's side and Zvonimir Androic, Matt DiMasso, Keith Everhart, Deni Gasparin, Stephen Grove and Pieter Ritz for the men. The biggest improvement on the women's side comes from Victor, who added more than 30 points to her personal best 3-meter dive score, while Ritz took off 2.70 seconds from his best 200 free time.

WINNING WAYS: If the women's team continues its winning ways, they will give head coach Wally Morton his first winning season while at the helm of the program. Morton was just shy of a .500 season last year when the Vikings went 8-9, dropping close meets to St. Francis (106-99) and Oakland (172-120). The Vikings have topped all of their opponents by at least 24 points this season, with the largest margin of victory coming against Malone (194-24). While Morton has been in charge, CSU has beat their opponents by an average of 73.5 points or better over the past three seasons.

...MEN FOLLOW SUIT: The men are on pace to give Morton his 23rd winning season as the men's head coach and the 12th straight, which would be the Cleveland State record for consecutive winning seasons. During the streak, the Vikings have posted a .700 'percentage or better seven times. The men are also closing in on the most single season wins record, which is 14 held by the 1996-97 squad, and with six dual meets left the 2009-10 squad could very well surpass that record.

NEXT UP: The Vikings will host Duquesne and Xavier in a double dual meet on Saturday (Jan. 16) beginning at 1:00 p.m. CSU will return to Horizon League swimming on Saturday, January 23 when they travel to Wright State for a 1:00 p.m. meet.