Nov. 14, 2005
Setting the Scene: The Vikings return to the confines of Busbey Natatorium this week when they host Baldwin-Wallace, Case Western Reserve, Gannon and Oberlin. Diving competition begins at 4:00 p.m. with swimming beginning at 6:00 p.m. The meet will feature two heats of each event with the exception of the relays, 1,000 freestyle and 500 freestyle.
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 back seven returning swimmers. Several of the newcomers have already contributed to the early-season 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 squad in both the 100 and 200 butterfly, while freshman Sandra Bunker has been one of the team's top swimmers in distance freestyle events. 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 head into this week's action with a 2-3 mark in dual meets after dropping at 118-116 heartbreaker to Youngstown State.
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. Sophomore Dave Duecker has been one of the Vikings strongest swimmers of late, recording top marks in the 200 fly, 200 IM and both breaststroke events, while junior Bjorn Schantz continues to out-pace his competition in distance freestyle. Seniors Daniel Thomasson and Adam Wroblewski have stepped up thier times in the sprint events. CSU touts at 3-2 dual meet mark this season after taking down Xavier, 54-32, on Nov. 5 following a tough, 137-104, loss to conference rival Wright State.
Last Week in Review:
Women's Swimming - Nov. 10 - Youngstown, Ohio Youngstown State 118, Cleveland State 116
Cleveland State put up its most resilient effort of the season on Thursday (Nov. 10) night at Youngstown State but came up short in the end as the Penguins claimed a 118-116 victory. YSU jumped out to substantial advantages on two occasions, but the Vikings came roaring back both times, taking the lead once and coming up just short in the final push. With Youngstown State leading 64-42 after the first six events, Cleveland State went on a tear in the subsequent three events to reclaim the advantage at 85-78. The Penguins would jump to a large advantage again following the three meter boards and hold a 108-90 lead with only two events to go. CSU responded once more, with wins in the final two events, the Penguins' advantage would hold up in the end.
Lionell Back On Top: Junior Marianne Lionell continues to be a dominant force on the Viking women's squad. The Sodertajle, Sweeden native is currently atop the CSU top times list in six events, pacing the team in the 50 free (24.62), 100 free (53.94), 200 free (1:57.92), 100 breast (1:08.09), 200 breast (2:28.89) and 200 IM (2:12.97). She has also been a contributor in two of the Vikings' top relay times, swimming the lead leg in the 400 freestyle relay and the breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay. The Horizon League took note of her efforts last week, naming her the Female Swim Athlete of the Week for the first time this season.
On Top of the League: A trio Vikings currently find themselves in a very familiar place: at the top of the Horizon League top times list. Diver Thatcher Carr and swimmers Pieter Pelser and Bjorn Schantz, as well as the relay team of Pelser, Marko Milenkovic, Ari Markle and Johan Norling, hold eight top times or scores in the league so far this season:
|Thatcher Carr||1 meter diving||338.50|
|3 meter diving||370.90|
|Dave Duecker||200 butterfly||1:56.05|
|Pieter Pelser||100 backstroke||50.54|
|Bjorn Schantz||200 freestyle||1:42.20|
|Pelser, Milenkovic, Markle, Norling||400 medley relay||3:28.74|
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. Four of the team's top times are held by CSU freshmen, with Jen MacLauchlan holding top marks in the 100 backstroke (1:00.42) and 200 backstroke (2:09.96) and Katie Bellew touting the top times in the 100 fly (1:00.31) and 200 fly (2:12.35). Additionally, Alexandra Bagi, Sandra Bunker and Kristina Nagy have been contributors in the top relay times this season.
Carr Takes Another Lap: Following a semester unlike any other in CSU swimming and diving history, senior Thatcher Carr will once again be wowing the crowds at Busbey Natatorium and every other pool he visits after earning an extra year of eligibility for the 2005-06 season. He has competed in 20 events since becoming eligible last spring and has won each one, recording 300 points or more in all of them. He currently holds the top league marks in the one-meter (338.50) and the three-meter (370.90) springboards. Carr was the Horizon League's top diver last season despite only competing in the spring semester, earning the Horizon League Diver of the Meet award and setting school records with a one-meter score of 410.93 and a three-meter mark of 614.45.
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 78. 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 211-124-1 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: Cleveland State heads to Columbus on Nov. 22 when they battle Ohio State beginning at 6:00 p.m.