The Cleveland State Vikings’ swimming and diving program is excited to announce the addition of 16 incoming newcomers for the 2013-14 season. The group includes five men signees who will be joining the Horizon League champion men’s squad, with four women signees and one international transfer student joining Cleveland State’s top-notch women’s program.
The new additions on the men’s side signing include Patrick Walsh (Muskego High School, Muskego, WI) and Robert Tolson (North Canton High School, North Canton, Ohio) who signed in the fall, and Gage Alleman (St. Charles Catholic HS, LaFayette, La.), Joshua Nordike (Christ Our Rock Lutheran HS, Carlyle, Ill.) and Phillip Brittain (Toowoomba Grammar School, Nanango, Aus.) who signed this spring to become Vikings.
Moving over to the women, they will be bringing in a group that includes four signed athletes and one international transfer student to the squad in 2013-14. That incoming group includes Meghan Miller (Hershey High School, Hershey, Pa.) who signed in the fall, and Adriana Cannon (Northwood, Ohio, Lake High School), Ally McConnell (Woolwich, Aus., Presbyterian Ladies College), Dayna Kiekebosch (Hamilton, New Zealand, Morrinsville College) and Madisen Tretter (Zelienople, Pa., Seneca Valley School District) who joined this spring.
Looking first at the men’s squad, this group of five swimmers is a record-breaking bunch that is ready to take that next step and contribute to the winning tradition at Cleveland State.
Walsh, one of the two incoming Viking men to sign this past fall, specialized in freestyle, butterfly and IM at the high school level. At the time of his signing heading into his senior high school season he had already put together an accomplished resume. As a junior in 2012 he was able to place third at the WIAA Division I state meet in the 500 yard freestyle, improving on a sixth place finish in the same event in 2011. He was also named the South East Conference Swimmer of the Year in 2010. In 2013 as a senior he went on to being a finalist in four events at his state championship meet. Head Coach Wally Morton is excited about this addition to an excellent distance core for the future.
“Patrick gives us the depth and quality in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 at the Horizon League Championships,” Morton said. “His work ethic and excellent grades make him attractive to us for our team.”
Robert Tolson was the second signee on the men’s side this past fall. Tolson, who specialized in freestyle, was consecutively named the Comeback Swimmer of the Year in both 2010-11 and 2011-12 due to missing time in the pool. He was able to bounce back and perform well, making districts in the 200 freestyle in 2010-11, and following that up with a second districts appearance in the 200, 400, and 500 freestyle the next year. He was also able to advance and place fifth in the 400 freestyle relay at the state meet in 2011-12. Tolson’s senior year was spectacular as he matured into one of the top sprinters in the state of Ohio, finishing third in the 100 freestyle and anchoring his school’s 400 freestyle relay to a runner up finish.
“I am super excited about Robert being part of our team for the 2013-14 season,” said Morton. “You build your team around middle distance and sprinting and he gives us that boost. His parents both were outstanding Viking swimmers and we know that he will continue their tradition of excellence.”
The first of three male signees in the spring, Alleman has swum a variety of strokes as he gets set to enter the college ranks next season, with his main events including the IM and backstroke. The incoming freshman was a dominant swimmer at the high school level in the state in Louisiana, coming to CSU as a six-time individual state champion. The state record holder in both the 200 IM and 200 medley relay, he was also part of a very successful team, winning three team state titles during his time on the squad. The third of those titles came in clutch fashion for Alleman, as he helped win the meet for St. Charles Catholic in the championship’s final event. Morton mentioned Gage’s ability both in an out of the pool as something that excites him.
“Gage will be not only a versatile swimmer but excellent student,” Morton said. “He is a high character guy who will be an important part of our success.”
Nordike, a native of Illinois, also joins the Vikings from out of state with an impressive list of accomplishments. As he gets ready to begin his college career he comes to CSU with two main strokes, the freestyle and butterfly. Similarly to Alleman, he also comes to CSU as a record holder, breaking the YMCA Illinois/Missouri state records in the 50 free and 100 butterfly in 2012. Nordike continued that strong swimming in 2013 as a high school senior, placing as a finalist at the Illinois High School State Championships. When looking at Nordike, Morton is reminded of a current Viking, Cleveland State junior Alex Lewis.
“Josh reminds me of Alex,” Morton said mentioning Lewis. “He will get better and help us in an area of need. We love his enthusiasm for swimming which translates to improvement.”
Brittain, the final signee for the men’s squad this spring is also the only international incoming freshman. He comes to Cleveland with three main events under his belt in the IM, breaststroke and backstroke. Brittain was as a silver medalist at the New Zealand Short Course Nationals. He also made multiple state finals in both the 200 IM and breaststroke events. Morton believes he found a special recruit from abroad in Brittain.
“Phillip is from the outback of Australia and a diamond in the rough,” he said. “Our program is built on swimmers like him. We are excited about his upside potential in college swimming. We like his size, attitude and intelligence.”
While the incoming Viking men form a very strong group as a whole, the list of women joining Cleveland State in the fall is just as impressive.
Meghan Miller was the first Viking on the women’s side to officially sign, signing this past fall. Miller was not only part of an extremely successful high school team; she also excelled individually. On the team side at the time of her signing she was a member of two district champion squads (sophomore and junior year), a state champion team (sophomore), and state runner-up (junior). Her sophomore year she placed eighth in both the 100 fly and the 500 free at District III AAA championships, qualifying for states in the 100 fly. She then placed 6th in the 100 fly at districts her junior and qualified for states in both the 100 fly and the 500 free. Her senior year she was a state finalist in two events.
“Meghan is perfect for college swimming and in particular this Cleveland State team with her abilities,” Morton remarked on the addition to the women’s squad.
Cannon, the only new signee for the women from the state of Ohio, joins CSU swimming two main events, the butterfly and freestyle. She comes to Cleveland State as a success in both the classroom and in the pool. Not only was she in the top 10 percent of her high school class, she was also a three time state qualifier, two time All-Ohio selection, and the district record-holder in the 100 butterfly. Morton is looking forward to the addition of Cannon both in the pool and classroom at Cleveland State.
“Adriana will be a great addition as not only a quality swimmer but outstanding student,” Morton said. “She has received many honors and swims in events that compliment our team.”
McConnell, the first of two international newcomers for the Viking women, comes to Cleveland State swimming both the freestyle and backstroke. The high school PLC senior swimming champion in 2012 comes to Cleveland with multiple strong performances to her name. Just in the past year alone she was a member of three top-three relay teams at the NSW Open State events. She placed third as a member of the 4×200 free relay in 2013, while placing second in the 4×100 IM relay and third in the 4×100 free relay in 2012. Morton is expecting big things from McConnell from the moment she steps on campus.
“Ally is a terrific athlete who will have an immediate impact in the sprint and middle distance events,” he said. “I love her enthusiasm to be part of our winning tradition.”
Kiekebosch is a second incoming Viking to come from outside the United States for the women, as she travels to Ohio as a transfer student from Morrinsville College in New Zealand. She comes to Cleveland State swimming both the breaststroke and IM with an impressive resume to her name. Kiekebosch, who holds 12 of 15 school records at Morrinsville College, was a three-time winner of the Waikato Breaststroke trophy (2010, 2012, 2013). She also took gold in the 50, 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the 2012 New Zealand Short Course Championships. The 2013 Fairfield Swim Club `Swimmer of the Year’ also took home a fifth place finish in the 50 breast and sixth places finishes in the 100 and 200 breast at the 2013 New Zealand Long Course Open. When projecting Kiekebosch’s impact on the program Morton is looking back on CSU’s track record of New Zealand swimmers, and he’s excited with what he sees.
“Dayna will be instrumental in replacing the top breaststroker in the history of our program (Alice Sommerville) who also is a Kiwi. Our New Zealand swimmers have been an integral part of our team’s success,” Morton said.
Tretter, the final incoming signee for the Viking women, comes to Cleveland State with two main swimming strokes, the breaststroke and freestyle. Tretter was a state qualifier, WPAL qualifier and sectional qualifier in the state of Pennsylvania. She also joins the CSU squad as WPAL medalist and three-year high school varsity letter-winner.
“Madisen is one of the top swimmer in Western Pennsylvania and provides needed help in events where swimmers have graduated,” Morton said. “Her ability to train at a high level year round is one of her best qualities.
Looking at the group as a whole, with the ten mentioned above also being joined by six expected walk-ons next fall, Morton is ready to go.
“I am excited about the 16 new swimmers that will be on our Viking ship for the 2013-14 season,” he said. “We will have a new look. It will be exciting and I can’t wait to get going!”