Photo Coutersy of Viking Athletics

The swimming and diving team of Cleveland State University started off its season on Oct.21 and had its home opener on Oct.29


November 3, 2016

Swimming and diving team starts 2016 competitions

As the weather is gradually approaching winter in Northeast Ohio one sport at Cleveland State University is just getting its feet wet for the upcoming season. The men’s and women’s swimming teams have been preparing for the upcoming season, and both teams are eager to go build upon last season’s performances.

Horizon League head coaches predicted the men’s team to finish second in the league lagging behind Oakland University, and projected the women’s team to finish fourth overall.

This year the men’s team returns 14 players, including senior Phillip Sikatzki, who was first team All- American last season and was also named the league’s swimming athlete of the year.

Sikatzki said the team hasn’t set expectations for itself, but would rather see results based on the hard work it puts in. “As a team, we really don’t have expectations, we just like to do our work and then let our work give us the results at the end.’’ Sikatzki said.

Sikatzki said he knows that becoming better as a player takes commitment, and he has made the sacrifices to do it.

“Getting up at 5 a.m four times a week [is] hard by the time you get to your senior year,’’ Sikatzki said. “It’s a long four years getting up that early.’’

The women’s team also is set to begin its season, and hopes to improve from last year’s seventh place standing. The team will return 11 players and welcome back freshman of the year Molly McNamara.

Senior Tori Taffner, who competes on the diving team, finished in the top six in the meter and diving events and plans to move forward this season.

“On the diving part of the team, we are trying to get bigger dives, bigger competition, more consistency to put us better as conference as a whole.” Taffner said.

Head coach Paul Graham, who is entering his third season as the men’s and women’s swimming coach as well as the reigning swimming coach of the year, noted that the expectations he sets for his players are that they do the most that they can in training and know the results will pay off.

Graham knows that the competition that they will facing this year won’t be easy, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s an interesting time in the Horizon League on this one,” Graham said. “There’s been a lot of turnover in the coaches, especially in Green Bay and UIC.”

In both Horizon League polls, Oakland is the favorite to win the conference


Both the men’s and women’s team traveled to St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y. for their first dual meet of the season on Friday, Oct. 21.The teams will host their home opener on Oct. 29 against Xavier University


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