CLEVELAND, Ohio, March 2. THE Oakland men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams took home the Horizon League Championship title after an exciting four days of competition at the Busbey Natatorium on the campus of Cleveland State. The Milwaukee women were the conference runner-up while host Cleveland State placed second for the men.
The final day of Championship competition opened up with the women’s 1650 freestyle where Milwaukee’s Natalie Johnson dominated to finish with a time of 16:45.92. Green Bay’s Anna Gomez took second with a time of 17:03.64 and Cleveland State’s Jodi Turk took third seconds behind.
Oakland’s Amr el Sayed took the lead early in the men’s 1650 freestyle and never looked back to finish with a NCAA Division I B-cut time of 15:12.18 well in front of the competition. Milwaukee’s Nic Halverson was next to hit the mat to take second place with Oakland’s Jacob Pearson in third.
Oakland’s Karin Tomeckova won her second backstroke event of the meet in the 200 finishing with a time of 1:57.48 to mark a new Horizon League Championship record and NCAA Division I B-cut time. The previous record of 1:58.68 was recorded by Youngstown State’s Ashley Dow in 2013. Tomeckova holds the Horizon League all-time record after posting a time of 1:55.35 earlier this season.
Milwaukee’s Becky Yokosh finished right behind to take second while Oakland’s Megan Hunter took third.
Jorden Merrilees had a record-breaking performance in the men’s 200 backstroke winning with a NCAA Division I B-cut time of 1:45.19. He broke the Horizon League all-time and Championship record of 1:45.47 that has stood since 1999 by Justin Thornton.
Oakland swept the next two spots with Aleksander Danielewski posting a B-cut time of 1:45.57 and teammate John Ferrara a few seconds back in third.
After setting a new Horizon League all-time and Championship record in the preliminary round (50.16), Cleveland State’s Rowan Elbadry came back to win the final event with a time of 50.72. The previous record of 50.23 by Carys Behn of Cleveland State has stood since 2011.
Milwaukee’s Anna Yontz was out-touched to place second with a time of 50.81 and Cleveland State’s Alex Johansson finished third following close behind.
Alex Lewis of Cleveland State continued to dominate in the pool as he tied the Horizon League all-time and Championship record in the men’s 100 freestyle with a NCAA Division I B-cut time of 43.33. The tying record was set by former Viking Berry Thompson in 2012.
Oakland took the next five finishing spots with Grant Harding swimming a B-cut time of 44.08 for the Golden Grizzlies to take second place.
Last year’s champion in the women’s 200 breaststroke, Emily McClellan of Milwaukee, defended her title in the pool swimming a NCAA Division I B-cut time of 2:09.06 well in front of the pack. In the battle for second place, Oakland’s Takara Martin took second with a time of 2:16.56 with teammate Rachel Waite in third.
In an exciting finish in the men’s 200 breaststroke, Green Bay’s Ryan Korslin came back from behind to out touch Cleveland State’s Nathan Grant. Korslin finished with a winning time of 1:58.99 while Grant recorded a 1:59.11 swim. Both student-athletes posted NCAA Division I B-cut times as well as third place finisher Hrafn Traustason of Oakland.
In lane three, Emily Ludema of Oakland finished strong to place at the top of the podium swimming the 200 butterfly in a time of 2:01.13. Last year’s champion, UIC’s Melanie Waszak was a split second behind to take second and Oakland’s Julia Vela was next in third.
UIC’s Kei Ishimaru led the way in the men’s 200 butterfly with a NCAA Division I B-cut time of 1:47.95. Cleveland State’s Justin Kermack was within inches in second place and Oakland’s Mitchell Alters touched after coming in third.
Tricia Grant won her second Horizon League diving title of the championship in the three-meter scoring 344.20 points in her six dives. Last year’s champion Whitney Johnson of UIC was second scoring 293.40 points and Milwaukee’s Rachel Margis was third with 291.70.
In the final women’s event of the Championship, the Cleveland State Vikings brought home the 400 freestyle relay title with a time of 3:23.01. The winning team comprised of Rowan Elbadry, Christine Kopacko, Amanda Pallija and Alex Johansson.
Milwaukee took home second place in the relay followed by Oakland in third, Green Bay in fourth, UIC in fifth, Wright State in sixth, Youngstown State in seventh and Valparaiso closing out the pack.
The Oakland men capped off its championship run winning the 400 freestyle relay in a time of 2:56.66. The team of Grant Harding, Amr el Sayed, Jeremiah Morren and Jorden Merrilees broke the Horizon League all-time and Championship record. The previous record of 2:57.04 was posted in 2009 by UIC.
Cleveland State was a couple seconds behind to take second, UIC took third, Milwaukee placed fourth, Green Bay finished fifth and Valparaiso came in sixth.
Women’s Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championship Final Standings
1. Oakland, 764 points
2. Milwaukee, 730 points
3. Green Bay, 576 points
4. Cleveland State, 497 points
5. UIC, 428 points
6. Youngstown State, 273 points
7. Wright State, 264 points
8. Valparaiso, 128 points
Men’s Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championship Final Standings
1. Oakland, 844 points
2. Cleveland State, 647 points
3. UIC, 520 points
4. Milwaukee, 494.5 points
5. Green Bay, 465.5 points
6. Wright State, 390 points
7. Valparaiso, 163 points
Women’s Swimming and Diving Award Winners
Freshman of the Year: Natalie Johnson, Milwaukee
Diver of the Meet: Tricia Grant, Oakland
Swimmer of the Meet: Emily McClellan, Milwaukee
Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year: Emily McClellan, Milwaukee
Diving Coach of the Year: Larry Albright, Oakland
Swimming Coach of the Year: Pete Hovland, Oakland
Men’s Swimming and Diving Award Winners
Freshman of the Year: Tuomas Kiviluoma, Oakland
Diver of the Meet: K.J. Heger, Milwaukee
Swimmer of the Meet: Alex Lewis, Cleveland State
Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year: Alex Lewis, Cleveland State
Diving Coach of the Year: Todd Hill, Milwaukee
Swimming Coach of the Year: Wally Morton, Cleveland State
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