Cleveland State vs. Valparaiso

VALPARAISO, Indiana, February 6. THE Cleveland State University men's and women's swimming and diving teams traveled to Valparaiso for a Horizon League dual meet on Friday, Feb. 6. The men finished with a 111-89 victory, winning all but one event, while the women won 128-89. With the victory, the CSU men improve to 10-4 on the season and the women move to 8-8.

"Once again, the star of the meet was Mark deSwardt with three individual wins," head coach Wally Morton said. "I thought he did an outstanding job. Overall, we swam almost everyone in off events trying to see what they would look like in some events they don't typically swim, and as a result I thought it was a solid effort as we get ready for a very, very tough meet tomorrow against UIC."

The Vikings opened the meet with a win in the 200-yard medley relay as Todd Winchell, Deni Gasparin, Marko Milenkovic and Travis Lombardozzi paired up for a time of 1:35.91.

deSwardt picked up his first win of the day in the 1,650 freestyle, finishing in 15:38.01, almost two second ahead of the runner-up, his teammate, Pieter Ritz (17:06.49). deSwardt's time was the second-fastest in the Horizon League this season, behind only his time of 15:20.75 recorded on Dec. 7.

In the 200 freestyle, Mike Marsico led the way for the Vikings with a time of 1:47.53 while Stephen Grove won the 50 freestyle in 21.69.

In his second victory, deSwardt swam the second-fastest time in school history (3:57.41) in the 400 IM. deSwardt's previous best of 3:59.43 came on Dec. 6. Milenkovic followed deSwardt with a win in the 100 butterfly (52.97). CSU's two swimmers, Winchell and Marsico, swam the 100 free as an exhibition race. Had their times counted the pair would have finished second (48.04) and third (48.09), respectively.

Grove posted a win in the 100 backstroke (53.71) and deSwardt kept pace with his final win of the day, a time of 4:50.48 in the 500 freestyle. Jakub Dobies won the teams' final individual race, the 100 breaststroke, in 59.48. In an exhibition swim of the same race, Gasparin finished in what would have been the winning time (59.31).

The 200 free relay team of Milenkovic, Dobies, Keith Everhart and Derek Butts sealed up the Vikings' dual victory with a win in 1:28.08.

Matt DiMasso won the 1-meter diving event for the Vikings, recording a score of 237.60.

Both Butts and Lombardozzi also used the meet to better their top times of the season during exhibition races. Butts improved his time in the 100 back (55.50) while Lombardozzi improved in the 100 fly (53.41).

"Frances Carrion winning the 1,650 free was a big, big win for us," head coach Wally Morton said. "On paper this was a very close meet but our depth is what won it for us. It was the second win in a row against a Horizon League opponent and a big stepping stone for us. I think we look good coming down the stretch but we have a tough meet against UIC tomorrow."

The Vikings started off the day second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay with Emily Splain, Rachel Arzadon, Whitney Hickey and Brittany Tweardy clocking in at 1:53.04.

CSU won each of the first three individual events, including Carrion's time of 18:20.17 in the mile. Erin Green finished third in the race (18:37.87). Maria Culjak followed Carrion's 1,650 performance with a win in the 200 freestyle (1:59.33), just edging out Splain (1:59.58) for the win and Carys Behn picked up a victory in the 50 freestyle (24.66).

Whitney Hickey nabbed a second-place finish in the 400 IM (4:57.59) and Behn led the way with a victory in the 100 butterfly (59.28) followed by Katie Bellew in second (1:01.60). CSU took two of the top three places in the 100 freestyle with Kristina Nagy (54.34) and Emily Splain (55.38) taking second and third, respectively.

Culjak picked up her second victory of the afternoon in the 100 backstroke (1:00.92) followed closely by runner-up Hickey (1:02.82) and Behn won her third event with a 5:17.68 finish in the 500 freestyle.

Vikings went 2-3-4 in the 100 breaststroke led by Arzadon in 1:10.28. Green finished third in 1:12.88 while McCann was fourth in 1:13.98. In the final event of the day, Culjak, Nagy, Tweardy and Kristine Bunker paired up for second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:42.08).

In the 1-meter diving event, CSU's duo of Heather Dietz and Liz Victor took the two top spots with 196.80 and 193.95 points, respectively. It was Victor's top score of the season.

Several swimmers also used the day to improve on their top times of the season including Culjak (25.16 in the 50 free as a relay leadoff), Nagy in the 100 free (54.34), Hickey in the 400 IM (4:57.59) and Sandra Bunker in the 400 IM (4:59.41).

The Vikings are back in action tomorrow, Feb. 7 when the team takes on UIC.

Special thanks to Cleveland State for contributing this report.

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