CLEVELAND, Jan 30. THE Delta State University men's and women's swimming and diving programs will honor its four seniors Saturday, as the Lady Statesmen and Statesmen are to host the University of Louisiana-Monroe in dual meet competition.
Seniors Lesley McLin (Baton Rouge, LA/Central HS), Jimmy Denning (Caledonia/Caledonia HS), Virden Hargrave (Grand Blanc, MI/Grand Blanc HS) and Brad Radford (The Woodlands, TX/Woodlands HS) will be honored by head coach Ronnie Mayers ten minutes prior to the meet's 1 p.m. start time. "It's going to be an exciting day for Delta State Swimming," Mayers said. "It's always nice to take a moment to congratulate our seniors on their accomplishments."
As the lone Lady Statesmen senior, McLin has made a name for herself on the diving board, garnering 1998-99 New South Intercollegiate Swim League All-Conference laurels while twice winning the 3-meter
competition (11 dives) at the league meet. A three-time Gayl Anders Most Valuable Diver recipient, McLin currently holds all four Delta State diving records and ranks 13 times in the school's top ten diving scores in the 1-meter (6- and 11-dives) and 3-meter (6-and 11-dives) competition. "Lesley has been a solid part of our diving program for four years," Mayers said. "It is going to be very, very tough to replace her."
Joining McLin in the senior spotlight will be Denning, Hargrave and Radford, all four-year lettermen for the Statesmen swimming program. Denning, at one point in his collegiate career, had swum every event and used that versatility to garner NSISL All-Conference accolades in 1998-99. But it is his work ethic that will leave its lasting mark on the Delta State Swimming and Diving programs. "Jimmy always works hard
and never complains," Mayers said about his three-time DSU Workout Award winner. "We're going to miss Jimmy's dedication to the program."
If Denning has become "Mr. Versatility," then Hargrave is "Mr. Dependable" on the Delta State Diving team. His 34 points and two-silver medal performances on the board at the 1999 NSISL Championships helped to solidify the Statesmen's conference crown. His efforts have garnered Hargrave the Most Valuable Diver Award the past three seasons. "Virden was a big part of us winning the conference championship in 1999," Mayers added. "He will be missed."
The last of the senior quartet, Radford, is, by far, the most accomplished and recognized butterflier in Delta State history. "Brad helped us to get where we are today," Mayers said. "His talent brought other talent to Delta State. His presence allowed us to recruit better talent because everyone wanted to come swim with his speed." His "speed" has earned Radford three consecutive NSISL All-Conference bids, a four-time All-American selection in his sophomore campaign and Honorable Mention All-American status his freshman year. The Exercise Science major still holds the Statesmen 100- and 200-butterfly records with times of 51:27 and 1:54.04, respectively, and ranks in eight of the top ten times in the 200-butterfly. As a member of the 400-medley relay squad, Radford helped power to a new Delta State record at the 1998 NSISL Championships.
Mayers is hopeful his quartet of seniors can help lift Delta State past the stiff competition of University of Louisiana – Monroe. "They're a Division I program, so we know they're going to be tough," Mayers said.
"But, it's going to be a great opportunity for our swimmers to see where they are at and where they need to be."
The dual-meet will be held at the new Health, Physical Education & Recreation Aquatics Center at 1p.m., Saturday, February 3.