Swimming Returns Home To Host Duquesne, Xavier

Swimming Returns Home To Host Duquesne, Xavier

Jan. 9, 2006

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Setting the Scene: The swimming and diving team returns home on Thursday (Jan. 12) after a 10-day training trip to La Jolla, Calif. to host Duquesne and Xavier at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 14) at Busbey Natatorium. The meet will serve as the first dual meet competition for the team since battling Ohio State on Nov. 22.

Previewing the Women's Team: The CSU women's squad features one of the deepest lineups it has had during head coach Mike Lehto's tenure, as seven freshmen add to a core of seven returning swimmers. Several of the newcomers have already contributed to the success of the team. Freshman Jen MacLauchlan has admirably stepped in to help fill the void left by backstroker and 2005 Horizon League Swimmer of the Year Samantha Jones, leading the team in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. Freshman Katie Bellew paces the league in the 100 butterfly and the team in the 200 fly and 200 breaststroke, while freshman Sandra Bunker touts the top mark in the 1,650 free. Meanwhile, the veterans have continued to turn in strong outings. Junior Marianne Lionell, the school record holder in the 50 and 100 freestyles and the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, has her sights set on the league swimmer of the year honors as the team's top sprinter and breaststroker. Seniors Kirsty McKechnie and Wendy Peel have added leadership as well as fast times in distance freestyle, backstroke and IM events. The Vikings hold a 7-4 record after claiming a 70-50 win over Case Western Reserve in a relay dual meet on Jan. 6 in La Jolla, Calif.

Previewing the Men's Team: The CSU men's squad is primed for another run at the Horizon League Championship. Last year's Horizon League Male Athlete of the Year Pieter Pelser and Diver of the Meet Thatcher Carr lead a Viking team that features one of the deepest rosters that head coach Wally Morton has had in his 25 years at the helm. Pelser remains a force in the league in backstroke and individual medley events, while Carr continues to wow the competition on both the one and three-meter boards. Senior Bjorn Schantz has been the Vikings strongest swimmer this season, recording Horizon top times in the 200, 500 and 1,000 freestyles. Additionally, Pelser (100 and 200 backstroke), Carr (one- and three-meter boards) and sophomore Johan Norling (100 butterfly) hold top marks in the league. Sophomore Dave Duecker holds team-best marks in the 200 fly, 200 IM and both breaststroke event, while seniors Daniel Thomasson and Adam Wroblewski have stepped up their times in the sprint events. The Vikings will have added depth with freshman swimmer Nedim Nisic and sophomore diver Chris Dalman becoming eligible this semester. CSU touts a 8-3 dual meet mark this season after topping Case Western Reserve, 70-50, on Jan. 6 in La Jolla, Calif.

Last Year Against Duquesne and Xavier: A pair of school records changed hands last season in the meet against Duquesne and Xavier on Jan. 15, 2005 as the men's team topped the Dukes (144.5-60.5) and the Musketeers (125-79), while the women dropped a pair (108-94 and 112-88, respectively). The women's team claimed a win over St. Francis in the quad meet, upending the Red Flash 130-57. Diver Thatcher Carr broke the long-standing one-meter record in his first meet with the Vikings with a score of 349.40, a record he would break several times over in subsequent meets. Kirsty McKechnie added a top school mark in the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 10:27.29.

Last Week in Review:
Jan. 6, 2006 - La Jolla Sprint Relay Classic - La Jolla, Calif.
Men's: Cleveland State 70, Case Western Reserve 50
Women's: Cleveland State 70, Case Western Reserve 50

Jan. 7, 2006 - UC-Irvine Distance Invitational - Irvine, Calif.
Men's: 5th, 64
Women's: 8th, 2

The Vikings were able to escape the cold of Cleveland's winter weather for the warm sun of southern California, where the men's and women's squad spent the past week training in La Jolla, Calif. The teams practiced twice a day before taking on Case Western Reserve in the La Jolla Sprint Relay Classic on Jan. 6, with both CSU squads coming out on top by 70-50 scores. The following day, six men's swimmers and one women's swimmer headed to Irvine for the UC-Irvine Distance Invitational. Senior Daniel Thomasson placed first out of a field of 45 in the 500 free with a time of 4:42.73, while Kirsty McKechnie swam to a 15th-place finish in a field of 69 in the 400 IM with a time of 4:44.12.

Nisic, Dalman Add Depth to Men's Squad: The Viking men's team has added depth both in the pool and on the boards as both swimmer Nedim Nisic and diver Chris Dalman became eligible at the end of the fall semester. Nisic, a freshman from Tulza, Bosnia & Herzergovina, swam to a second-place time of 4:11.67 in the 400 IM at the UC-Irvine Distance Invitational on Jan. 7. Dalman, a sophomore from Auburn, Wash., is the son of former Cleveland State diver Jeff Dalman, who was a member of teams that won four Penn-Ohio Championships from 1978 to 1981.

On Top of the League: Six Vikings currently find themselves in a very familiar place: on top of the Horizon League top times list. Women's swimmer Katie Bellew, men's swimmers Dave Duecker, Johan Norling, Pieter Pelser and Bjorn Schantz and diver Thatcher Carr all hold top individual marks, while the relay team of Daniel Thomasson, Schantz, Marko Milenkovic and Khaled Elgamal tout the top time in the 800 free relay:

Swimmer/Diver Event Time/Score
Katie Bellew 100 butterfly 58.09
Thatcher Carr 1 meter diving 383.90
3 meter diving 370.90
Dave Duecker 200 butterfly 1:51.78
Johan Norling 100 butterfly 50.52
Pieter Pelser 100 backstroke 50.21
200 backstroke 1:49.40
Bjorn Schantz 200 freestyle 1:40.28
500 freestyle 4:33.88
1,000 freestyle 9:23.94
1,650 freestyle 15:50.22
Thomasson, Schantz, Milenkovic, Elgamal 800 freestyle relay 6:51.20

Lionell Back On Top: Junior Marianne Lionell continues to be a dominant force on the Viking women's squad. The Sodertajle, Sweden native is currently holds the CSU top times list in four events, pacing the team in the 50 free (24.45), 100 free (52.82), 100 breast (1:06.51) and 200 IM (2:12.97). She has also been a contributor in four of the Vikings' top relay times, swimming the lead legs in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays, the second leg of the 800 free relay and the breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay. The Horizon League took note of her efforts, naming her the Female Swim Athlete of the Week for the week ending Nov. 9.

Fresh is Better: With half of the roster comprised of freshmen, the Cleveland State women's team features one of the the most youthful squads in the Horizon League. But the youth doesn't seem to be playing a factor in the performance. Six team top times and one Horizon League best are held by CSU freshmen, with Katie Bellew holding the league best in the 100 fly (58.09) as well as team bests in the 200 fly (2:12.35) and 200 breast (2:28.23). Jen MacLauchlan touts top marks in the 100 backstroke (1:00.42) and 200 backstroke (2:09.96) while Sandra Bunker holds the fast time in the 1,650 free (18:35.72).

Carr Takes Another Lap: Senior diver Thatcher Carr continues to be a dominant force in the Horizon League this season. He had a 25-event winning streak - a streak which began last semester - come to an end at Ohio State (Nov. 22). During that time, he scored higher than 300 in each event and set pool records at Miami University's Nixon Aquatic Center and Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Center. He currently holds the top league marks in the one-meter (383.90) and the three-meter (370.90) dual meet events and the one-meter (621.35) and three-meter (693.85) marks in the tournament format while being named the league's men's diver of the week five times this season alone.

Lehto Getting It Done: Women's swimming head coach Mike Lehto is back for his 12th season and is the all-time winningest coach in women's swimming history with 82 victories. He coached the 2004-05 squad to an even 7-7 record, the fourth-straight season they have finished at or above .500, and a fifth place finish at the Horizon League Championships. Under his tutelage, Samantha Jones became the school's first Horizon League Female Swim Athlete of the Year award after winning the 100 and 200 backstroke championships.

Wally World: Cleveland State men's head coach Wally Morton certainly become synonymous with the Viking swimming program. Morton, entering his 32nd season with the team and 25th as its head coach, currently holds a 215-125-1 career record after passing 200 dual meet victories last season. He has to his credit nine Penn-Ohio Championships, a pair of MCC titles and 22 winning seasons. He helped to guide last season's team to a 10-4 dual meet record and a second-place finish in the Horizon League Championship while, for the third straight season, a Viking took home the league's Male Swim Athlete of the Year award, with Pieter Pelser claiming the honor last season.

Another Championship at Busbey: The 2005-06 season will culminate when Cleveland State hosts the Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships at Busbey Natatorium from Feb. 22-25. Noted as one of the fastest pools in the nation, the natatorium has been the site of championships of all shapes and sizes during its history, including four Midwestern Collegiate Conference championships and the 2003 Horizon League Championship. It has been the site of the Penn-Ohio Conference Championships 17 times, the Eastern Intercollegiate Championships 11 times and the NCAA Championships five times.

Looking Ahead: The Vikings head to Valparaiso, Ind. on Jan. 20 for a 6:00 p.m. meet with the Crusaders.