Vikings Host Horizon League Championships This Week

Vikings Host Horizon League Championships This Week

Feb. 20, 2006

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Setting the Scene: The 2005-06 season culminates this week when Cleveland State hosts the Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships at Busbey Natatorium. The tournament kicks off on Wednesday (Feb. 22) at 3:00 p.m. with diving preliminaries followed by swimming and diving finals at 6:00 p.m. The remaining three days (Feb. 23, 24 and 25) will feature a preliminary swimming round at 10:30 a.m. followed by the diving prelims at 3:00 p.m. and finals round at 6:00 p.m.

Previewing the Women's Team: The CSU women's team heads into the championships with a 9-7 dual meet record, the program's best finish since the 2001-02 squad was 9-6. The Vikings feature one of the deepest lineups they have had during head coach Mike Lehto's tenure, as seven freshmen have added depth to a core of seven returning swimmers. Freshman Jen MacLauchlan has admirably stepped in to 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, 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.

Previewing the Men's Team: The CSU men's squad concluded the regular slate with a 11-4 record, the fifth-straight year the team has finished with 10 or more wins. 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. Junior Bjorn Schantz has been the Vikings strongest swimmer this season, shattering CSU's longest standing record in the 200 freestyle (1:39.15) in the final week of the season and recording Horizon top times in the 200, 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyles. Sophomore diver Chris Dalman registered his first win as a Viking in dramatic fashion, breaking Carr's one-meter school record and league-best score with a 415.40. Additionally, Pelser (100 and 200 backstroke), Carr (three-meter boards) and freshman Nedim Nisic (200 fly) hold top times and scores in the league this year.

The Last Time Out:
Feb. 4, 2006 - Busbey Natatorium - Cleveland, Ohio
Women's Swimming - CSU 119, UIC 112
Women's Swimming - CSU 130, Youngstown State 97
Men's Swimming - CSU 147, UIC 89

Things couldn't have gotten much better for the Vikings in the final home meet of the season, as CSU claimed three wins against UIC and Youngstown State, broke a pair of school records and bid farewell to 10 seniors. Bjorn Schantz broke the oldest school record, swimming the 200 freestyle in 1:39.15, while Chris Dalman topped teammate Thatcher Carr's year-old one-meter record with a score of 415.40. Schantz also improved on his league-best time in the 500 while Pieter Pelser (100 back - 49.85) and Nedim Nisic (200 fly - 1:50.76) swam to league best times as well. The women's squad posted five wins in the meet, including a season best time in the 400 medley relay by Jen MacLauchlan, Marianne Lionell, Kristine Bunker and Lesley Jones.

Young and Old: The CSU men's team took care of both the old and the new on Feb. 4 against UIC, as Bjorn Schantz broke the longest-standing Viking record while Chris Dalman topped one of the youngest marks. Schantz's time of 1:39.15 in the 200 freestyle beat out the previous record of 1:39.39 set by Rui Abreu in 1982. Meanwhile, Dalman dove to a 415.40 on the one-meter board to top teammate Thatcher Carr's record of 410.93 set just over a year ago.

On Top of the League: Six Vikings currently hold a total of 10 Horizon League individual top times and scores. Women's swimmer Katie Bellew, men's swimmers Dave Duecker, Pieter Pelser and Bjorn Schantz and divers Thatcher Carr and Chris Dalman all hold top individual marks. Additionally, the CSU men's team holds a pair of top times in relays:

Swimmer/Diver Event Time/Score
Katie Bellew 100 butterfly 58.09
Thatcher Carr 3 meter diving 370.90
Chris Dalman 1 meter diving 415.40
Nedim Nisic 200 butterfly 1:50.76
Pieter Pelser 100 backstroke 49.85
200 backstroke 1:49.40
Bjorn Schantz 200 freestyle 1:39.15
500 freestyle 4:31.79
1,000 freestyle 9:23.19
1,650 freestyle 15:50.22
Thomasson, Schantz, Milenkovic, Elgamal 800 freestyle relay 6:51.20
Pelser, Potgieter, Nisic, Milenkovic 400 medley relay 3:23.77

Going the Distance: When it comes to distance swimming events, there really isn't any team in the Horizon League better than Cleveland State. Junior Bjorn Schantz touts the league's top times in all four distance freestyle events (200, 500, 1,000 and 1,650), while senior Daniel Thomasson is second in the 200 (1:41.56), 500 (4:35.99) and 1,000 (9:38.81).

Another Week, Another Viking: It seems like every week there is another Viking swimmer or diver being recognized by the Horizon League. In all, four CSU athletes have grabbed 10 weekly honors, including five by senior diver Thatcher Carr. Junior Bjorn Schantz was honored for the third time a week ago, while junior Marianne Lionell has garnered the award twice this season. Additionally, senior Daniel Thomasson and sophomore Chris Dalman were tabbed with the recognition once.

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. Five 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 the team best in the 200 fly (2:12.35). 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).

Nisic, Potgieter & Dalman Add Depth to Men's Squad: The Viking men's team has added depth both in the pool and on the boards this spring as swimmers Nedim Nisic and Stef Potgieter and diver Chris Dalman became eligible at the end of the fall semester. Nisic is currently the Horizon League leader in the 200 butterfly, while Potgieter is third in both the 100 breast (1:01.07) and 200 breast (2:09.30). Meanwhile, Dalman has given teammate Thatcher Carr his best competition this season, breaking Carr's year-old CSU record on the one-meter boards with a 415.40.

Dalman Brings a History of Success: While diver Chris Dalman has already shown signs of great potential in his first competition with the Vikings, his genealogy might have foreshadowed his success before he even stepped on the boards. Dalman is the son of former Cleveland State diver Jeff Dalman, who was the Vikings' top diver on teams that won four Penn-Ohio Championships from 1978 to 1981.

Lionell Back On Top: Junior Marianne Lionell continues to be a dominant force on the Viking women's squad. The Sodertajle, Sweden native currently holds the CSU top times list in five events, pacing the team in the 50 free (24.45), 100 free (52.82), 100 breast (1:06.51), 200 breast (2:27.19) 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 and the second legs of the 800 free relay and the 200 medley relay. The Horizon League has taken note of her efforts, naming her the Female Swim Athlete of the Week twice this season.

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 mark in the three-meter (370.90) and is second to teammate Chris Dalman on the one-meter (383.90) dual meet events. He also holds the one-meter (621.35) and three-meter (693.85) marks in the tournament format and has been 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 85 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, in his 32nd season with the team and 25th as its head coach, currently holds a 219-126-1 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.