Vikings Head To Miami Invitational On Thursday

Vikings Head To Miami Invitational On Thursday

Nov. 28, 2005

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Setting the Scene: Cleveland State heads to Oxford, Ohio from Thursday (Dec. 1) to Saturday (Dec. 3) for the Miami Invitational at the Nixon Aquatic Center. Swimming preliminaries will be held on Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with finals held all three days from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Diving events will be held all three days with prelims from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and finals at 8:00 p.m. The invite will feature teams from 15 schools, including the men's and women's teams from Horizon League foe Wright State.

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 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 hold a 6-4 record after falling 145-65 to Ohio State in their last dual meet.

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. CSU touts a 7-3 dual meet mark this season after dropping a closely-fought match to Ohio State on Nov. 22 by a score of 141-95.

Last Year at the Miami Invitational: If last year's Miami Invitational is any indication, the Vikings could be registering some of the fastest times in the Horizon League this season at Miami this week. The men's and women's teams combined to set 25 league-best times and four school records in the three-day event last year as the men's team placed third (1,154.5) and the women's team finished sixth (671). Marianne Lionell swam to three CSU marks on the weekend, including the 50 freestyle (23.86), 100 freestyle (52.25) and 100 breaststroke (1:04.95). Pieter Pelser added a school-best time in the 200 backstroke with a 1:47.84. Host Miami claimed the women's title with a score of 1,697, while the men's team from Kenyon placed first with a score of 1,921.

Last Week in Review:
Nov. 22, 2005 - McCorkle Aquatic Center - Columbus, Ohio
Men's: Ohio State 141, Cleveland State 95
Women's: Ohio State 145, Cleveland State 65

Cleveland State put up some of their fastest times of the season against Ohio State last Tuesday (Nov. 22) in Columbus, but the Buckeyes were able to keep the Vikings at bay in the final team standings at McCorkle Aquatic Center. The men's team dropped a 141-95 contest while the women's team fell, 145-65. Both CSU teams put up strong showings in the meet, including 10 season-best times, four Horizon League marks and a pool record. For the men's team, junior Bjorn Schantz improved on a pair of his league-best times in the meet, swimming to a 4:33.88 in the 500 freestyle and a 9:23.94 in the 1,000 free. Senior Pieter Pelser upped his league-leading time in the 100 backstroke with a 50.21 performance, while sophomore Johan Norling moved into the top spot in the 100 butterfly with a time of 50.52. On the women's side, junior Marianne Lionell swam a couple of her fastest times of the season, swimming a 53.50 in the 100 freestyle and a 1:07.88 in the 100 breaststroke. Additionally, senior men's diver Thatcher Carr dived to a pool-record 328.65 in the one-meter boards but saw his 25-event winning streak come to an end at the three-meter, as he finished third with a score of 310.72.

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 six events, pacing the team in the 50 free (24.62), 100 free (53.50), 200 free (1:57.92), 100 breast (1:07.88), 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, naming her the Female Swim Athlete of the Week for the week ending Nov. 9.

On Top of the League: A quartet of Vikings currently find themselves in a very familiar place: on top of the Horizon League top times list. Diver Thatcher Carr and swimmers Johan Norling, Pieter Pelser and Bjorn Schantz, as well as the relay team of Pelser, Marko Milenkovic, Ari Markle and Norling, hold nine top times or scores in the league this season:

Swimmer/Diver Event Time/Score
Thatcher Carr 1 meter diving 383.90
3 meter diving 370.90
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
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: 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 last week at Ohio State (Nov. 22) as the Russell, Ohio native placed third at three meter. 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) springboards and has been named the league's men's diver of the week three times this season. 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 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 will spend the remainder of 2005 conditioning and practicing before resuming competition at their training trip in LaJolla, Calif. on Jan. 7.