The Oakland men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams return to intercollegiate competition this weekend when the Golden Grizzlies take part in a two-day, five-team meet hosted by Kenyon College. Friday’s action will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Kenyon’s Aquatic Center, while Saturday’s events are slated for an 11 a.m. start. Live video will be available at the start of each day’s events and can be found here.
The Golden Grizzlies will face off against host Kenyon along with Ohio State, Cincinnati and Ashland University.
The Golden Grizzlies are coming off a standout performance at the EMU Invite Dec. 6-7, where the squad registered multiple team top 10 performances including five NCAA “B” qualifying times. Including Tuesday’s meet, the Golden Grizzlies have six more competition dates before the 2014 Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 26-March 1.
In his 35th season on the OU campus, head coach Pete Hovland is in his 33rd year as the head coach of the Oakland men’s squad and 15th season as the mentor of the women’s team, including 13th consecutively. During his tenure, Hovland has been named conference coach of the year 21 times; he has also led the Oakland men’s team to 29 conference meet titles and the women’s side to 14 conference meet championships. Of note, Hovland’s 35 years as a head coach for Oakland swimming and diving is tied for second longest among current Division I head coaches.
Golden Spotlight – A Look Back at Oakland Swimming Success
Both the Oakland men’s and women’s teams are holders of the NCAA Division II Swimming Championship record of most individual winners in one championship meet. During the 1994 season, the Oakland women’s team claimed their fifth consecutive NCAA title with a championship record of 12 individual titles. Not to be outdone, in the following year the Oakland men’s team captured 14 individual victories to claim the men’s record that has stood since the 1995 campaign.
Scouting the Oakland men:
• Oakland distance freestyle specialist Amr el Sayed was a three-time winner in the middle and long distance freestyle races at the EMU Invite Dec. 6-7, as he was victorious in the men’s 200, 500 and 1650 free races for Oakland, with all three times establishing new Horizon League bests for the season at the halfway point. el Sayed also was a part of two relay victories, the 200 free relay and 800 free relay; Oakland’s 800 free relay team – which included Tuomas Kiviluoma, Jacob Pearson and Jorden Merrilees – set a meet and pool record with their time of 6:37.62.
• Merrilees, who was back in competition since the season opener, posted an NCAA “B” time in the 200 backstroke (1:46.14) at the EMU Invite.
• Freshman Aleksander Danielewski has Oakland’s best time in the 100 backstroke (49.27), which is also best in the Horizon League at the midway point. Danielewski trails only Merrilees in the 200 back with a mark of 1:47.37.
• Mitch Alters and Mario Rusnak are among the league’s best in the butterfly, as both have top 10 league marks in both the 100 and 200 events.
• Kiviluoma, a freshman,has emerged as a strong IM swimmer and has also turned in solid times in the free, fly and breast events.
Scouting the Oakland women:
• Sophomore Karin Tomeckova swam three NCAA “B” times at the EMU Invite, with her time in the 100 backstroke (53.66) setting a new Oakland University record. Tomeckova also swam the 200 back and 200 IM in times good for NCAA “B” marks, with her time in the IM ranking 25th nationally at the time of her swim.
• The 1-2 punch of Patricia Aschan and Emily Ludema in the distance freestyle races has the duo in the top four in both the 500 and 1000 free in the league.
• Freestyle sprinter Nikki Flynn is second in the Horizon League in both the 100 and 200 free events and has been an anchor on both of Oakland’s IM and free relay squads.
• Kyra Rietveld boasts an NCAA “B” time in the 100 back and is second to Tomeckova in both the 100 and 200 back to sit atop the Horizon League best times listing.
• Four Oakland swimmers are among the top six in the Horizon League in the 200 fly: Ludema, Julia Vela, Stella Pasalidou and Hannah Oswald. Oakland is also strong in the 200 breast, with four of the league’s top nine marks belonging to the Golden Grizzlies.
• Diver Tricia Grant has been named Horizon League Women’s Diver of the Week five times this year. This season, Grant has finished first in all but three events and set a new Oakland record in the 3-meter (344.47).
This release was provided to SwimSwam courtesy of Oakland Swimming and Diving.